1. international projectmeeting

Petrklic Help, z.s. / Cesky Tesin (Czech Republic) 16.-20.04.2018

A team of twelve from Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Portugal and Germany gathered in the international small city of Český Těšín/Cziszin located on the Polish-Czech border during the 16th to 20th of April. The objective of this meeting was to kickstart a long-term project which aims to make people forget the boundaries we have in our lives. Taking the border inside of the city, that you’ll only find on signs, as an example the group thought of activities like workshops and seminars which specifically social borders between general society and marginalised groups.

Often times these people have less opportunities and experience less encouragement to fund their own businesses - a situation demanding to be changed, with a special focus on social enterprises. Although the project is planned to last for about 2.5 years, it’s planned to have a long-lasting impact, encouraging and supporting environmentally friendly startups in particular. Talking about all those things in meetings all seriously was important for the future, but it was important to us to do something right now as well. So after our meetings and planning, we took part in cleaning the town from garbage and created workshops for local children on Earth Day, bringing them closer to nature and the concept of sustainability.

We are going to keep you updated on all the trainings, exchanges and seminars that are about to come, you are going to see fusions of already existing projects to create something that will last and change the way we think about the relationship between industry, social impact and ecology.

1. international training

UEZ / Krizevci; Mariapoli Faro (Croatia) 15.-21.10.2018

The first of three trainings led our participants to Croatia, more specifically in the city of Krizevci. In addition to the accommodation, the seminar rooms were also located on the site of the Mariapolis Faro, so that the morning routes were short. With a huge external surface, the terrain also offered enough space for smaller but sometimes larger breaks outside.

The group comprised a total of 20 participants from seven countries and was also very mixed with the age structure. As the group was very divers, the first 1 1/2 days were used to get to know each other better. In addition to the classical presentation round, the participants also had the chance to share their current projects in the plenary session in order to provide input for exchange within the next few days. In addition, the project conceptions showed the diversity and the potential within this group due to the many possibilities of linking. With the help of "Talents Tetris", everyone could individually make visible his strengths, which he or she wanted to contribute during the project. Thus, the strengths could be distributed evenly, especially with regard to group work.

After getting to know the group better and gaining an overview of the potential of the next few days, the weekly program was created thanks to the Sociocracy method. Since the method is based on the fact that each person is consulted and, in the case of discrepancies, if a solution is sought until each member is satisfied, a program was created that satisfied the entire group.
In the next few days, several sessions on different topics were also worked on in parallel. Projects have been further developed and modified, and new project ideas have been initiated and developed. In this context, a session was also offered on how to make project applications, what the individual steps are and what needs to be considered.

Over the week, mental coach Stefano Manni from our Italian project partner VeraTerra in a three-part event sharpened our senses and let us approach our Goals - at least mentally. With Sergei Lugovic from the Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, we were also able to gain an exciting guest speaker for the project, which presented an interesting presentation to us and local guests on the topic "Ecosystem of socio technical system ". The Croatian late summer also pampered us most of the time with bright blue skies and sunshine, which is why our group did not let it take individual program points in the open air.

In addition to the interesting lectures and sessions, of which the participants were able to take a lot, the first training was especially useful for a better link. Not only the group members were networked, but also existing and future projects or project contents could be linked together. We are therefore looking forward to what is still developing from the project, the start for a change is in any case succeeded.

2. international projectmeeting

UEZ / Krizevci; Mariapoli Faro (Croatia) 22.-24.10.2018

On the site of the Mariapolis Faro, our Croatian project partner welcomed us to the second International Project meeting. Since the majority of the project managers had already participated in the previous training, our group, consisting of now 12 people, was able to go directly into the program. The main focus of the intensive three days was to concretely link existing and future projects and to define the next steps. In order to make this best possible, the relevant topics were first filtered out and worked on in small groups. In addition, a responsible person has been identified for each topic, which controls and coordinates the further course. The results were later gathered and discussed and supplemented in the plenary session. Another major topic was the sustainability of ideas beyond the end of the project. What measures can we take now as project managers to ensure long-term prospects.

In addition to our own project contents, the link with the local population and institutions was also a major concern for our responsible people. A lot of time has also been invested, to get to know the project partners of our Croatian Partner better, who are in the process of building the first agricultural cooperative in Croatia. Our Group was even able to visit the farms of two partners, which was a welcome change to the project-related work for. Our group was also visit the first social company in Croatia, a Chocolateria, and the nearby technology park, the largest in the country.

The meeting reflected well the basic ideas of the project to promote local structures and partners through international cooperation and to support them on their way. That is also why the second project meeting was a complete success. In addition, the next steps could be taken and long-term ideas should be put in, in which it is necessary to work in the near future and to push them further.



3. international projectmeeting

Starkmacher e.V. / Mannheim (Germany) 09.-12.05.2019 The third project meeting led the project managers to Mannheim. More specifically, in Coblitzallee 8, the home of Starkmacher e.V. and the birthplace of the S-Hub. At the Starkmacher's premises, first the organizational issues such as the financial situation, the schedule and the further course of the project were discussed. In addition, the project meeting was used to discuss current developments within the various partner organizations and the resulting new opportunities. In particular, the focus was on the RoadMap of the city of Mannheim on the topic of social economy. A current topic, which is also the connecting element of the project. Starkmacher e.V. is part of this RoadMap with its social entrepreneurship accelerator program. Together with the project managers, it was discussed how the international network including its experience and know-how can be integrated within Start4Change. The right framework for dealing with this topic was also found quickly. With a ship on Friday it went from Heidelberg the beautiful Neckar valley upstream to the four-castle town of Neckarsteinach. The time before the departure was used to present the road map in plenary and to discuss the way forward. The shipping itself and the stay in Neckarsteinach then offered the project managers the opportunity to continue working on the relevant topics in individual and small group discussions. In the three intensive days, the way was paved for another successful project and the topics further pushed. The anticipation of the next training in Belgium has thus only increased even further among the project managers.

2. international training

vwz Nieuwe Mensheid / asbl Nouvelle Cité / Gent und Rotselaar (Belgien) 06.10. - 13.10.2019

The second training led our participants to Belgium. The training itself was divided into two. The first part took place in Ghent in close cooperation with the technology campus of the renowned university KU Leuven. In the first part of the training, the focus was mainly on getting to know best practice examples in the field of social entrepreneurship. Some representatives, such as the Gent Business Center De punt in Gent, found their way to the Technology Campus to exchange ideas with our participants, and other companies were able to see our participants directly on site. For example, our participants visited a biofarm and a farm producing hemp-based building materials. In addition, the social enterprise Weerwerk was visited, which integrates long-term unemployed in the labor market. For the second part of our training the participants drove to Rotselaar. In the center of our Belgian partner vwz Nieuwe Mensheid, the focus was increasingly on workshops on various social topics, such as biodynamic and ecological agriculture. In the interactively designed workshops, the participants got a lot of new and exciting input from our experts and also had the opportunity to interact with them. For the participants, the short round trip through Belgium ended with a stop in Brussels. At the end of the week and the training, the Prophetic Economy event was jointly attended there. The participants had the opportunity to network worldwide and to work in workshops on various social topics.

4. international projectmeeting

Starkmacher e.V. / Bad Urach (Germany) 14.10. - 16.10.2019 The fourth international project meeting was embedded in the international network meeting of the Starkmacher e.V. Once a year, Starkmacher e.V. invites its international network to Bad Urach to exchange ideas, network and collaborate on new project ideas. The project idea and the project title with "Start4Change" could hardly be more suitable for this. This allowed the content, goals and ideas of the project to be well integrated into the network meeting and partly inspired other ideas. Thanks to the inspiring impulse lectures and the exciting workshops, new ideas could be created and already existing ideas could be further developed in order to be able to generate positive impacts in the future as well.

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