Summer School „Social Entrepreneurship and Social Engagement in the North Caucasus”

The Center for Social Innovation and Investment (CSI) has successfully conducted a Summer School for Social Entrepreneurship in the North Caucasus region of Russia. The Summer School was held in the city of Dombay from the 2nd to the 6th of July 2018 and received full funding by the Foundations of The German Football Union and The German Football League to mark the ostentatious occasion of Russia hosting the world cup.

This initiative was a result of a long standing partnership between the North Caucasus Federal University (NCFU), the Russian NGO “Center for Network Initiatives Support” (CNIS) and the CSI, all three of which formed the core implementing partners.

The week-long workshop was aimed at capacity building and incubation targeted at new and emerging social enterprises in the region. The team comprised of nine resident trainers including distinguished guest experts from organizations of the social enterprise ecosystem such as Irina Pavlova and Sergey Ponomarev from Nashee Budushee, the leading fund for the support of social entrepreneurs in Russia, and Adrian Fuchs from Fase Germany (financial support intermediary of Ashoka Germany). Iznaur Khazuev and Rasul Naymanov of CNIS framed the whole week and facilitated sessions themselves, Volker Then led the overall design team of the curriculum, and Martin Hölz from CSI and Oksana Mukhoryanova and Irina Savchenko from NCFU contributed their faculty part.

The program was broken down into five days, each aiming to develop a specific aspect of the social enterprises which were being incubated. Day 1 focused on the specific understanding of social problems and communities using case studies of creative solutions from around the world as well as the participants’ own projects for an interactive day of exercises. Day 2 focused on the more specific understanding of target groups and beneficiaries of each organization followed by a comprehensive seminar on developing impact models again using the projects of the participants. Day 3 started by a team building excursion planned by the participants themselves followed by an introduction to the basics of positioning their enterprise and developing their market as well as internal capacity. Day 4 addressed an overview of the Russian ecosystem including taxation, support infrastructure, and funding environment. The funding part was intensified by a specific part on real social investment vehicles, specifically for growth funding, and investment readiness of the entrepreneurs and their projects delivered by Adrian Fuchs from FASE, the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurs of Ashoka Germany. The final day was dedicated to preparing the pitch presentations by the incubates and running the final pitch in the afternoon after which the Russian and German jury decided to present awards to the best ideas and initiatives.

Each of the 29 young participants had a project for social change such as that of Madina Nuradiyeva and Israil Tamaev from Chechnya whose social enterprise MADIS offers to teach children with disabilities the basics of cartoon animation for generating potential revenue and social uplift for this marginalized community. Their enterprise showed great promise on both a conceptual level and from a practical standpoint. They were therefore, recipients of one of the six awards which were presented to the participants at the concluding pitch of the summer school.

Alongside providing training in necessary skills relevant to social enterprise incubation, the summer school offered financial support for the best initiatives. Out of the 29 participants of the summer school, 6 organizations and 9 participants were the recipients of personal scholarships which were competitively given to the organization with the most promising ideas and initiatives for social impact.

The CSI and the Russian partners hope to establish a base of Alumni to whom a series of webinars which aim at developing further capacity will be offered. This will be the basis for hopefully developing a permanent network of the entrepreneurs depending on future funding.

The relationships forged during the summer school were not just limited to the flow of information between the trainers and the participants. But it was also heartening to see the participants get closer to each other into a well knit group. One of the participants had a disability which the rest of the participants had to devise a solution for to ensure they could include everyone in the team excursion. Battling social problems is not a task one can do alone, since there are always more social problems than change makers. It is the hope of the CSI and our Russian partners that this summer school will be the first of its kind but hopefully not the last. We hope to capitalize on this momentum and play our part in establishing a strong thriving ecosystem of social enterprises in Russia for years to come.

Award-winning inititives and enterprises

1. Volunteer center “BISON”, Cherkessk, Karachay-Cherkess Republic – Magomed Batchaev
The project combines the structure of gym, anti-café and educational youth center. It aims to connect youth representatives and children from socially unprotected strata through sports and cyber sports as well as via educating them in volunteering and active citizenship. The organization gets revenue from the clients of the gym and anti-cafe and transfers profits to the educational center and gym/cafe for the support of poor children.

2. Educational studio “Orange square”, Stavropol Krai – Leonid Igropulo
The project is providing education for the VUCA world: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. It creates an ecosystem which develops skills for a happy, productive and successful life in a new world, such as: emotional intelligence, critical thinking, problem solution skills, media intelligence, creativity, virtual cooperation and intercultural communication. The target group are school children who will be able to be more integrated in a new VUCA-world.

3.“Art-manufacture”, Stavropol Krai – Anna Kibalnikova and Natalya Shukova
The project is targeting an issue of growing concern for the parents of children in primary schools. The project provides art workshops and trainings for the children to develop non-standard thinking and art-abilities, which means that children are staying longer at school and parents have longer available childcare and do not have any obstacles to finish working day.

4. Multstudio “MADIS”, Grosny, Chechen Republic – Madina Nuradiyeva and Israil Tamaev
This project addresses the problem of the low level of social communication skills of children (with an emphasis on children with disabilities). It works with children from 7 to 17 years old and educates them in animation. So children can create their own cartoon (including scenario and montage). Long-term effects are higher level of social integration of the children (also with disabilities) and more developed animation in the region. The initiators have combined this project with the first crowd-funding platform in Chechnya.

5. Art-Studio “CASPER”, Republic of Ingushetia – Movlatgirey Busurtanov
This is an inclusive project that integrates children with disabilities through painting, decoupage, clay crafting, beadwork. It helps to develop minor motoric skills among the children as well as increases social inclusion and tolerance in society towards children with different health challenges.

6. Interactive system of the medical rehabilitation “DARBA”, Chechen Republic - Islam Alsultanov
The project aims at improving old methods of rehabilitation, qualify medical specialists and develop an individual approach to the children in hospitals. It works with kindergartens, rehabilitation centers, and centers of medical aid, as well as correctional schools. They create and integrate special computer games into all mentioned organizations. As a result such an approach increases the efficiency of the (organizations’) services and reduces rehabilitation periods by 25%.


Seminar Team
> Irina Pavlova und Sergey Ponomarev (Nashee Budushee, Russia)
> Adrian Fuchs (Fase GmbH, Germany)
> Iznaur Khazuev und Rasul Naymanov (CNIS, Russia)
> Volker Then und Martin Hölz (CSI, Germany)
> Oksana Mukhoryanova und Irina Savchenko (NCFU, Russia)

> DFL Stiftung
> DFB Stiftung Egidius Braun