Three Austrian companies, along with Hungarian ones, are semi-finalists in the project’s financing pilot and are currently being guided in preparing their pitches. In September 2020, the companies were selected from a list of interested companies. Criteria for this were set in advance and included the innovative nature and impact-relatedness of the activities, the connection possibilities to the current business areas for impact led financing.
For Austria, the projects were evaluated by Ashoka, ZSI and external experts.
The competition, organized within the Finance4SocialChange project, will bring together 30 social enterprises selected in this way from Bulgaria, Moldova, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania, which will compete in the semi-finals in country groups.
The best four companies from all country groups will have the opportunity to participate in the final in early 2021. UniCredit is a strategic partner of the competition and supports the competition with a total of 30,000 euros. UniCredit is one of the pioneers in the field of social impact banking and this commitment relates to building a fairer and more inclusive society – especially by promoting initiatives with a positive social impact. In addition to the directly awarded prizes, there is also the opportunity to network more with investors, relevant business partners from the region and UniCredit Social Impact Banking experts.
The social enterprises participating in the competition were evaluated according to the strict criteria of the German Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE) to advance to the semi-finals. Cornerstones of the evaluation are the social and environmental aspects; the measurability of the impact; the sustainability of the enterprises. In earlier phases of the Finance4SocialChange project, relevant companies were also invited to visit the Social Impact Investment Design Academy which created an online course, mentoring offers were available.