22 February 22024On Tuesday, February 20, the LADESE Consortium finalized the 2-year-long effort organizing “Innovate4Change: Transforming Societal Challenges through Social Entrepreneurship” at the EU Parliament, in Brussels.

This project, co-funded by the EU under the Single Market COSME Programme, brought together the public and private sectors to boost the design-driven innovation capabilities of social SMEs.

The event, hosted by MEP Eleni Stavrou, has involved several guests who shared their experiences and thoughts about design-driven social innovation, funding opportunities for social economy and the evolution of legislative framework at the EU level.

Jerry Zagoritis, Founder and Chief Strategist at Campaign Lab has introduced the event, leading the interventions’ flow. Eleni Stavrou started highlighting the main development about European Policies for the Social Economy, together with Karel Vanderpoorten, Policy Officer at the EU Commission. They stressed the relevance of the Proximity and Social Economy Ecosystem, providing some insights into the Social Economy Action Plan, adopted by the EU Commission in 2021.

Then Christina Skoubridou (Director EU Innovation Department, Envolve Entrepreneurship) welcomed the guests for LADESE Consortium, drawing the main project’s objectives and milestones, such as the elaboration of a Toolkit for helping Public Authorities in the design of effective user-centred support services for SMEs and citizens.

After this session, three Panels were scheduled.

In Panel 1 “Scaling up Social Entrepreneurship in Europe” speakers from the private sector and social economy presented their organisation and how their daily activities help sustain the social economy ecosystem. In particular, Juan Manuel Revuelta Pérez (CEO FINNOVA) illustrated the functioning of the “2nd CHANCE Startup Europe Accelerator”, while Dorotea Daniele (Managing Director and Senior Expert at Diesis Network) and Chiara Frencia (General Secretary, Startup Europe Regions Network) focused their speech on the relevance of an ongoing dialogue between different actors, to align skills and knowledge basis in the sector towards a shared growth.
Finally, Koralia Kontou, Project Officer of DG Home at the European Commission, clarified the framework of funding opportunities stemming from the EU for the social economy.

Panel 2, titled “Nurturing Social Economy at the local level” was the time for LADESE Project Partners to share their experience regarding the impact of project activities at the local level.
Mark Scheutjens as Project and Innovation Manager in the Municipality of S‘hertogenbosch, Dimitris Apostolopoulos, Head of Organization and Christian Maffei, Senior Public Officer in the Province of Rimini exchanged feedback on how they handled workshops or the development of the Action Plan, recognizing the relevance of addressing the social economy role from different national perspectives. 
The dialogue was enriched by the online presence of Isabella Tymviou, City Councillor of Nicosia Municipality who gave her insights on the topic.

The event closed with Panel 3 dedicated to launching the “RES4CITY Startup Europe Accelerathon”, an innovative way to spur innovation in the design of potential solutions to a set of environmental and social challenges.

The event represented the best way to end a journey and consolidate a network that is ready to close the project’s activities, disseminating results and creating new partnerships to transform societal challenges in opportunities.

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About Envolve Entrepreneurship:  

Envolve Entrepreneurship is a business support organization that has been at the forefront of global entrepreneurial support since its establishment, in 2012. The organization champions founders and ignites innovation through an open startup ecosystem founded on efficiency, transparency, and growth. Envolve acts as an innovation and knowledge hub, offering cutting-edge upskilling, valuable resources, support for founders, and impactful innovation and digital transformation services to the global community. 

Nurturing the next generation of global disruptors, Envolve re-introduces its flagship program, EnvolveXL, building upon the proven track record of the former Envolve Awards, in Greece and in the USA. In Greece, the program has fuelled the growth of 37 businesses and has injected over €6,000,000 into the economy, while fostering job creation and economic welfare. 

To learn more about Envolve, please visit