From Beirut to Tangier, from Venice to Tripoli, the Mediterranean has returned to the center of history. A social laboratory that includes 26 countries with a population that in 2050 will be 650 million people, triple the 214 million in 1950. Stopping the boats of desperate people is a political solution. Intervening to improve the social entrepreneurship of this area is an opportunity, in which Italy already excels. Since 2012, the Crt Foundation of Turin and the United Nations Agency for Industrial Development (Unido) have in fact developed the Entrepreneurs for Social Change (E4SC) program, which through an international selection forms and supports 25 under 35 social entrepreneurs in their countries of origin.
The call for the 2018 edition will close on July 1st, and is open to all 26 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area. At the center of the program the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include food security, water management, waste treatment, access to clean energy systems, quality education, fight against climate change, promotion of a dignified employment for all. In six years the Entrepreneurs for Social Change program has selected over 2,000 applications and trained 85 social entrepreneurs.
Among the winners of 2017 is the Alep Studio of the Syrian architect Yanal Wattar, who aims to grow startups and innovative companies in his country. The Egyptian Alyaa Nour Abdelgawad, on the other hand, founded Jereed, which converts waste wood palms with low environmental impact. The Tunisian Ayadi Radhouan with his Biofire focused on alternative energy sources. The Italian Danilo Mirabile founded Beentouch, which aims to improve the communication possibilities between inhabitants of the areas with low quality internet connections and low performance devices.
As in previous years, the winners of the 2018 call will participate in ten days of intensive training in Turin next October, through a unique learning experience, rooted in the values of peer exchange and the construction of a community. Subsequently, and for a year, the 25 participants will be provided with the most effective tools to open or expand their business through experts and tutors at various levels. Focus on training, oriented not only to technology, but also to personal growth, through social business, fundraising, marketing, leadership and intercultural dialogue.
In addition to developing their businesses, real ambassadors and promoters of positive change are formed, combating the set of factors that are also at the root of the migratory waves and social tensions in the Euro-Mediterranean area. A mission that belongs to the rich countries of the Mediterranean to develop. “Millennials want to be protagonists of change and want to create sustainable and decent jobs for themselves and for other young people. With Entrepreneurs for Social Change, Unido provides them with the right platform to succeed”, explains Unido’s director of Agri-Business’s department, Dejene Tezera. “It is our duty to train a new generation of entrepreneurs able to interface with colleagues all over the world, looking at the Sustainable Development Goals as a compass”, adds the president of EFC-European Foundation Center and general secretary of the Crt Foundation, Massimo Lapucci.