by Ieva Tilindytė, ChangeMakers’ON
After the great success of the last year’s launch, which aroused a huge interest of numerous participants, international partners and the most significant business people in Lithuania, ChangeMakers’ON returns to Kaunas with even greater ambitions. On May 4–6th, the social innovations hackathon ChangeMakers’ON 2018 will unite forces of more than 50 professionals who will advise, consult and support participants in developing sustainable businesses. This is a great opportunity for those who are creating social innovations and thinking about their own business — here everyone will get a chance to try themselves out, get professional insights and support, find partners and team members, with whom all ideas will be transformed into an impact-generating business.
“Technological innovations are often the key in solving social problems, so this year we are aiming to bring together as many social and technological innovators as possible in order to contribute to achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals. Together with ChangeMakers’ON experts, the participants will develop sustainable business models and create a truly measurable impact on the public. The ChangeMakers’ON program welcomes all industry representatives. If you already have a prototype or even a low-value product, but you have not yet succeeded in developing a sustainable business model because the lack of teams, knowledge, support or partners be sure to fill out the registration form,” says the initiator of the ChangeMakers’ON program, and the head of the “European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative studies Institute”, Simona Simulyte.
This year, ChangeMakers’ON has successfully started on March 27th in the event “Let’s talk. Social Investment & Skyrocketing” at Rise Vilnius, which was definitely a strong starting point for the development of social innovations.
During the discussion, the main factors determining the situation of the social innovations ecosystem in the Eastern European region were discussed, and the main goal was set — to unite the forces of social entrepreneurs and raise public awareness of social innovations. Together with the guests, CEE Social Investment Taskforce, as well as other impact business’ representatives, it was decided that this goal has set out the direction to go in order to strengthen the development of social innovations in the region.
Gytenis Galkis, an investor, and founder of the Blue Lime Labs investment fund and Lithuanian Business Angel Network (LitBAN), invites to participate at this year’s hackathon and emphasizes that “it is important to solve social issues by creating impact-generating businesses as a long-term sustainable solution to existing problems. Those people who seek to solve social problems by transforming them into businesses should be highly respected and valued. The best way to find like-minded people and gain experience is to take part at such hackathons, so I invite everyone to participate because only together we can make the world a better place to live.”
During the previous hackathon, about 14 teams have successfully developed their social innovations and the best ones were rewarded. One of the participants, Leon Milius, says that “ChangeMakers’ON is an inspirational and great place to start, but the most important thing is to not giving up on your idea after the program.” Agnė Ignatavičienė, who won the main prize of this hackathon, is still developing her social innovation “Veracraft” until this day. She shares the best memories of the hackathon: “There were many excellent mentors, who helped to set new goals and directions to go. First of all, I did not expect to win the prize because it seemed like there were much more advanced teams. But the prize — the opportunity to become a part of the virtual accelerator “Bridge for Billions” — was invaluable. I am so glad that my social business continues to receive consultations from a change-makers team on all relevant issues.” By sharing positive experiences, Agnė firmly encourages us not to miss the chance to participate at this hackathon: “If you have an idea of how to create a better world, be sure to register for the hackathon where you will meet a lot of like-minded people and the professionals who are always ready to help. “
Examples from all over the world show that technological innovations are more frequent than social ones. But are these two innovation concepts are hostile or, contrarily, complement each other? This topic, regarding the issue how technological and social innovations are understood, will be discussed during the panel discussion “Technological innovations vs. Social innovations” on March 4th.
The ChangeMakers’ON is the global social innovation and business development support program which helps social innovators to grow, to achieve significant scale, become financially stable and to deliver impact. The program is a joint project of “European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative studies Institute”, “Kaunas University of Technology” and “Enterprise Lithuania”, supported by “Barclays”.