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EMPOWER – Social Enterprises’ Sustainability Tools

Fostering the sustainability and scalability of new and existing social enterprises, and supporting young entrepreneurs.

Grant Agreement Number: 2021-1-BG01-KA220-YOU-000029024

Funded by: Erasmus+      Duration: 02/01/2022 – 02/01/2024


Social economy is a growing reality in the economy and territory of the EU. It comprises 2.8 million enterprises and organisations in different forms – including cooperatives, mutual, social enterprises, associations and foundations – engaged in economic activity, representing 8% of GDP in the EU and 13.6 million workers, or 6% of employees in Europe. Given its importance and the breadth of its activities, Social Economy is a primary driver of innovative and enduring economic growth in Europe that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. However, social enterprises’ sustainability and scalability are an ongoing challenge with several struggles. The challenges faced by social entrepreneurs revolve around conveying their business ideas, cross-sector collaboration, financing and crowdfunding, government policies, maintaining quality, impact evaluation, competitive forces, and acquiring the technology.


The EMPOWER project aims to foster the sustainability and scalability of new and existing social enterprises, and support young entrepreneurs by developing new learning partnerships between the working arena and the world of youth provision. The project will offer the tools and training needed for young entrepreneurs to develop strategies for their social enterprises using modern and empirically validated tools and methods.


A modular training package that can be used by youth workers, educators/trainers for the training of young people living or intending to move to rural areas, cooperatives, social enterprises owners, unemployed workers, NEETs, young entrepreneurs, and youth active in social entrepreneurship. The training package comprises a compendium of mini-learning format resources augmented by a series of masterclass sessions designed for face-to-face and online delivery. Its main objective is to support young entrepreneurs and functional social enterprises’ owners (18-35 years old) to develop the required skills and competences in social entrepreneurship, and enable them to introduce formalised innovation processes and sustainability tools in their companies and effectively scale their social enterprises.

A Simulation Game comprising a curriculum for training youth workers to develop their necessary skills and key competences and to apply this simulation game in their training. The Sustainability and Scale Simulation Game includes guidelines with an explicit learning outcome and allocated time for each learning unit. It also contains a tutor manual, the latter enclosing contents about each scenario selected outlining what it is, why is it important, its relation to other learning units. This output includes workshops in the form of role-playing based on the content of real-world business cases.

A MOOC developed based on the principles of youth participatory learning. Some of the guiding principles include the following: i) Use of inquiry-based and problem-based learning approaches, Accommodate multiple learning styles, ii) Contextualise learning to meet the needs of users in different work contexts, including the national, business sector, and organisational differences, iii) Provide authentic learning opportunities, iv) Present the content in modular small chunks that will be able to provide just in time learning, v) Promote self-reflection through the provision of tutor support and guidance, as well as keeping online journals, vi)Preparation of learning activities to be carried out either synchronously or asynchronously, vii) Provision of stories and case studies, viii) Peer to Peer support and communication. The MOOC will be hosted on the online platform of the project and will be open not only to educators from the participating countries but also to anyone interested. It will be available in English.

The aim of the Policy Paper is to provide detailed real-world lessons from social enterprises to help young entrepreneurs and young people explore challenges and brainstorm innovative solutions and recommendations for both practitioners and policymakers. The report consists of four sections: 1. Good examples from each partner country 2. Successes and challenges 3. Recommendations for practitioners 4. Recommendations for policymakers. The Policy and Practice Recommendation report includes recommendations and practices derived from the implementations that will be conducted in each partner country.

European Commission’s support for the production of this content does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Project Partners

KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Centre (Greece)
BRCCI (Bulgaria)
CARDET (Cyprus)
Future In Perspective Limited (Ireland)
Sweden Emilia Romagna Network (Italy)
Mindshift (Portugal)

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