A unique partnership shaping the social entrepreneurship and investment landscape launches in the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia

A unique partnership shaping the social entrepreneurship and investment landscape launches in the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia
Photo credit: Anja Strelec

European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), the leading organisation in the field of venture philanthropy and social investment in Europe, is launching the “Collaborate For Impact” project, joining forces with the European Commission. This is a unique five-year long partnership, with a budget of approx. 5 million EUR, that will take place in the Eastern Partnership countries* and Russia. It aims to contribute to the development of a more favourable social entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region. This will be done through raising awareness, promotion of social innovation and relevant exchanges with various policy and decision-making stakeholders that will ultimately lead to increasing the number of social investors, social entrepreneurs, and collaboration across the region. As a result, civil society organisations and social enterprises will benefit from social investment to become sustainable and have a positive societal impact.

To achieve this, EVPA will engage with local social investors, social entrepreneurs, social purpose organisations, impact funds as well as partnering organisations in Eastern Partnership countries and Russia and share the knowledge and experience of its broad community. The project will also provide financial support to establish venture philanthropy funds in the region.

“This project is a significant opportunity to deepen our collaboration with the European Commission and develop the social investment ecosystem and the social entrepreneurship capacity in the region. EVPA’s extensive experience in market and ecosystem building in Western and Central Eastern Europe, and the deep network and know-how we can bring to the table, will help mobilize social investments, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and inclusive society’’, says EVPA CEO Roberta Bosurgi.

The project will include two specific programme components focusing on Armenia, with a budget of 2 million EUR, and on promotion of social innovation and new business models across the region. In Armenia, in partnership with the local EU Delegation, we aim to increase the level of skills and business competences among social enterprises and civil society organisations and provide access to finance.

Overall, 300+ civil society organisations and social businesses are expected to be directly or indirectly involved in the project activities over the next 5 years. EVPA, as a catalyst for change and social impact investment ecosystem builder, is convinced that the project will create more favourable conditions for social investors and at the same time inform and assist local stakeholders and wider public to actively participate in the development of such an ecosystem in the region.

Due to the project’s international nature, EVPA will expand its collaboration with Dentons, the largest law firm in the world, that already provides pro bono legal support to EVPA and several of its members. Dentons is also the official legal partner of the Collaborate for Impact project in the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia.

*Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine.

EVPA - European Venture Philanthropy Association. Established in 2004 and based in Brussels, the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) is a non-profit, membership association gathering organisations interested in or practising venture philanthropy (VP). These include social impact funds, grant-making foundations, impact investing funds, private equity firms and professional service firms, philanthropy advisors, banks or business schools. EVPA currently gathers around 300 members from 30 countries, mainly based in Europe.

European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR). The European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations is responsible for EU policy on enlargement and the EU's eastern and southern neighbours. It is also responsible for relations with the member countries of the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Association insofar as Commission policies are concerned. By implementing assistance actions in Europe's eastern and southern neighbourhood, DG NEAR supports reform and democratic consolidation, and strengthens the prosperity, stability, and security around Europe. DG NEAR helps to promote EU values, policies and interests in this region, and to contribute to developing the special relationship of the EU with its neighbouring countries. In the enlargement area, DG NEAR assists those countries with a perspective to join the EU in meeting the criteria defined by the Treaty of European Union and the European Council.