“Last year, we started the conference inspired by the idea that social innovation can bring positive inspiration and transformation to a community", organizer Antoaneta Ivanova explains. "Working with young people across Macedonia, I came to acknowledge youngsters find it difficult to even think of starting their own project or businesses, they lack role models but also skills and tools to innovate for the better of their community or country. That is why I thought we need to make an event where we will help this young people get inspiration and connect to stories and passions from other people around Europe. So they can regain the confidence and trust in themselves, in their own dreams, so they can contribute into making this world a better place.” What premiered last year in Skopje as a unique one-day event titled “Social Innovators Conference”, rippled into a long-lasting and collaborative journey of innovation and transformation for the whole region.
THE PREMIERE, ITS HIGHLIGHTS AND ITS MOST PRECIOUS MOMENTS
Last year, the conference featured 10 memorable speeches heard by +250 people from Macedonia and the Balkan region, hosted in the colourful hall of Kino Frosina, in Skopje. Organizer Klimentina Ilijevski from NGO Public shares: “Organizing the conference for the first time was a challenge as much as it was an inspiration. We managed to attract and gather many like-minded people who believe that social innovations have the power to change the world. When you are driven by the mission of change for the better, somehow miracles happen. That is how I felt when the team of Mladiinfo and Public voluntarily jumped on this journey of creating a regional event, starting something that will give more and more fruits in the years to come.”
Asked to highlight some of the best moments or memories of the conference, Antoaneta and Klimentina both share the moment of a hall full of smiling faces, throughout the whole day. “We managed to build an engaging experience and the audience was attentive and excited till the very end of the event,” both confirm. Stories shared by Jose Morales, about his journey from the Andes to Slovenia, or Jasminko’s story of creating the War Childhood Museum were just few of the touching moments that made the audience eager to approach and connect to the speakers. “One moment I will always remember clearly was when Karin Lohr, one of the speakers, director of social issues street magazine BISS asked me if we have a member of our street magazine sales team in Macedonia who is trained and ready to be employed. Only a month later we had the first employee for the magazine LiceVLice, supported by BISS, who covered all social and health insurance fees for him,” Klimentina explains. AN OUTLOOK ON THE SOCIAL INNOVATORS CONFERENCE 2017 This year the content and agenda are even more exciting! “New speakers, new vibes, new stories: this year, we wanted to internationalize not only the stage and speakers but also the whole audience and bring as much international know-how as possible. We are proud that Slovenia’s State Secretary Mr. Slapnik will join us, we are proud that the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network will hold their first regional meeting in Skopje thus many of their members will be in our audience, we are proud that members of the Social Investment Taskforce will be there with us!” Antoaneta shares. What to expect? - 8 extraordinary speakers from different countries, across Europe - Expo of social businesses in Macedonia, providing stories and products to the participants - Impact booth with different engagement games - Host conference of the CEE gathering of Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) - Panel discussion with important stakeholders of the region, including State Secretary of Republic of Slovenia, Tadej Slapnik and President of GSEN, Krisztina Tora - Final ceremony and announcement of Social Impact Award 2017 winners in Macedonia - Good vibes and cheering and everything networking can bring :) Save the date and join us: October 2nd @ Kino Frosina Tickets available here. For more details and updates, follow us on Facebook and Instragram (@social_impact_lab)!