On 27th of September 2019, 371 places across Europe celebrated the European Researchers’ Night. On the night, a wide variety of events are organised to bring research closer to the public, with the special aim to motivate youth to embark on research careers. For the second time Cork in Ireland took part in this event and Mara and Lucas, the two Early Stage Researchers from the RurAction project based in Ireland, took the opportunity to build a collaborative workshop in which research and practice in Social Entrepreneurship was shared with the audience.
A varied audience participated in the workshop: practicing social entrepreneurs, master students, recent graduates and the star of the evening: a 16-year-old secondary school student with great enthusiasm and brilliant ideas to share. After a short presentation of what social entrepreneurship is and different examples of rural and urban European social enterprises, the participants were challenged to work in teams to sketch their own social enterprise. Each team departed from a clear problem that they wanted to tackle and described the activities and the financial aspects of their enterprise. Each team finished with writing a pitch about the impact that the organisation brings about, to convince potential stakeholders of the value of the social enterprise. Two social enterprise projects were developed during the workshop: an aluminium recycle station aimed at recycling drink cans and a work-integration social enterprise that targets people with drug addiction in homelessness.
During the workshop, the participants were supported by the ESRs to explore some of the challenges social enterprises face. The combination of social and economic logics of social entrepreneurship fuelled interesting discussion, and a myriad of options for tackling social and environmental issues while looking to the economic sustainability of the projects was explored. All in all, it was a great evening thanks to the engaging participants!
Mara van Twuijver and Lucas Olmedo