The NEST program empowers social enterprise initiatives in the North Aegean islands, in Greece, by offering capacity building workshops, mentoring and support for their first steps. Teams who implement these initiatives don’t have access to that kind of services, since they are mainly being offered in Athens or other big cities of Greece. NEST aims to bridge that gap between the islands and the mainland, and to support civic engagement through social entrepreneurship in this remote region.
Remote North Aegean Region islands, Greece
Our project focuses mainly on climate action, sustainable agriculture and forestry, education, smart communities, wellbeing, cultural inheritance and inclusion through supporting and empowering existing or new civil society organizations and informal groups to implement innovative solutions and projects which address these issues.
We will mostly focus on inexperienced groups of people or groups who are working on new ideas or even they want to re-initiate their action and need guidance for this. The project aims to support several kinds of civil society groups, local youth but also active citizens - regardless age, entrepreneurial background or other requirements - which are willing to work towards implementing solutions for social challenges in their communities.
Our project consists of 2 phases. Each phase begins with the call for proposals of ideas and projects from the North Aegean region, that address the specific social challenges mentioned above.
After the evaluation of the proposals, 5 to 8 of them with approximately 20 participants from 9 islands will proceed to the main program which includes: a) 3 months of capacity building activities (workshops etc) and other motivational/inspirational activities (i.e. good practices presentations, online discussions, knowledge exchange etc) and b) 1 month of guidance to implement a pilot project or prototype (depending the specific idea/project) and to form a specific proposal (which can be used for participation to other acceleration programs or for fundraising).
It is important to note that the good practices presentations, the discussions and a final presentation of the participating ideas will be open to the public, in order to further promote and motivate participation and civic engagement to our community, that counts more than 5000 people!
During the project, we will also work for the creation of a toolkit which will include all steps, examples and evaluation and it will aim to the dissemination of our methodology, which will be beneficial for other organizations who are planning to implement similar projects to rural areas or generally not to big urban cities.
At the end of our project phase we expect to have at least 6 projects (3 per round) from the ones participating in NEST, which will be running, addressing social challenges in our community and having great potential to achieve their goals. These projects will be also the examples which will motivate more people to participate in similar initiatives.
More importantly, all participants will have developed important and necessary skills strengthening the professional active community in the periphery and supporting the local youth to stay and work there.
In addition, the creation of the toolkit for our methodology will be useful not only for the evolution of our project, but also for other organizations, in order to implement similar projects in their community.
The main core of our project is civic education. By participating in NEST the teams will have the chance to enrich their knowledge in several key topics, like planning, project management, public relations, marketing and branding, finances, presentation skills, networking and fundraising. These skills will help them not only to implement their ideas, but also to develop strategic relations and their position in the community, which is essential for achieving their goals.
By educating the participants and the wider community to soft and hard skills, our project works as a “multiplier” and we will achieve a higher level of engagement to the local entrepreneurship and we will support local youth not only to stay and work here but also to be active members of the local community.
The project’s partners are actually active members of the civil society for more than ten years, also participating in other social initiatives. We launched our initiatives in our community and we faced the very same challenges that other groups of people may face during the implementation of their own projects. All the organizations of the consortium have large experience in design and implementation of projects focused on local communities. We’ve also run 2 rounds of NEST, with a total of 8 teams and 20 participants from the region and we plan to expand this project further. By this, we aim to empower civil society, to inspire action and to contribute to the formation of an environment which encourages new initiatives and social entrepreneurship.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Mentor/Workshop instructor fees: 16000 EUR
Celebration-networking event & grants: 10000 EUR
Toolkit creation / Graphic & communication services: 3500 EUR
Administrative costs : 2300 EUR
Equipment / Other indirect costs: 2200 EUR
We strongly believe that feedback and input from other organisations iis essential for the development of our projects. So any feedback from the community is more than welcome and very much appreciated!