MedRiSSE takes part in a public-private dialogue on social innovation in the Mediterranean


On 12th May 2023, Oxfam Italy, partner in the MedRiSSE project, organised a public-private dialogue event to discuss social innovation with the title “Social entrepreneurship and gender justice: a road to sustainability”. This activity was developed within the framework of Oxfam Festival 2023.

The event started with the welcoming by Giulia Taccetti, from Oxfam Italia and continued with the presentation of the MedRiSSE project objectives by José Ruibérriz. The event started with the docu-film "Qaderat," which was produced by the MedUP! Project, one of the five projects that MedRiSSE is capitalizing and showed the stories of six women social entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

This documentary introduced the first panel ‘Social entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean and financial institutions’ that counted on speakers coming from Palestine and Egypt. Dr. Maali Diab, founder of Muffaker, and Mrs. Manar Ramadan, co-founder of Banslastic, agreed about the high number of obstacles the social innovation companies must face in the first moments and the requirements to find funds to develop their ideas. However, the results that they are obtaining in their territories worth the bad moments. Mr. Simone Siliani, Fondazione Finanza Etica, took the floor to underline the great importance that financial institutions have in facilitating access to credit for companies and social enterprises, providing and experimenting, also in Mediterranean based cooperation projects, innovative financial products that benefit companies and allow them to overcome the obstacles that entrepreneurs often encounter in obtaining financing for their newborn businesses.

The second panel was entitled ‘Research, innovative entrepreneurship and the public sector’ and brought to the scenario scene Ms. Diye Ndiaye, representative from the Municipality of Scandicci, Ms. Camilla Guasti, from the Yunus Social Business Centre, at the University of Florence and Mr. Lorenzo Pieraccini, founder of Better Social, a business based in Prato that engages people with disabilities and foster their inclusion in the job market thank to new technologies. On this second session, the discussion revolved around the involvement of public institutions in social innovation projects and their commitment with the community to collaborate in different topics and working environments. The intervention of YUNUS underlined that at the heart of their activity there is the belief that social innovation does not operate in silos. To promote social innovation, it is necessary to adopt an “ecosystem” approach, which means touching and work simultaneously with several dimensions: legislative framework, culture through school education, access to the market and the finance, training, collaboration with public institutions. Lorenzo Pieraccini, recalls how innovation is "trying to make what doesn't exist". In his experience as a teacher for kids with special needs and digital marketing consultant, thanks to the coaching of the program, developed his innovative social enterprise and recommend to be open to all kind of collaborations, public and private sectors and have an open dialogue among both.

A series of recommendations will be produced and published and they are being produced from the event that will work topromote social innovation in the Mediterranean region. These recommendations will be complemented in another public-private dialogue in Palestine in the next month of July 2023 to match the north and the south perspective on social innovation.