The kick-off event of the new project „PEnCIL“ for the establishment of Competence Center for Social Innovation, supported by the European Commission, took place in Brussels on 23 – 24 September.
The European Social Fund Agency, together with international partners, ESF managing authorities from Belgium, the Czech Republic and Finland, met to discuss the possibilities for promoting and financing Social Innovation in 2021-2027 EU investment period, to share the best practices accumulated in their countries, to identify possible project challenges and the needs of stakeholders, to refine the desired results and the first steps.
"Finally, almost all EU member states will have Competence Centers for Social Innovation responsible for supporting and fostering Social Innovation in their country," said Risto Raivio, a senior expert at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, in his welcome speech.
Representatives of the partners agreed that the project would start with a comprehensive analysis of the Social Innovation ecosystem, which would form the basis of the overall strategy and action plan of the Competence Center for Social Innovation. It is hoped that the recommendations developed during the analysis will help to shape the impact of public policy on the promotion of Social Innovation. Among other things, the partners plan the creation and development of Social Innovation thematic networks, the sharing of good practices on successful models and methods with other Competence Centers to be established in 24 EU countries, the launch of pilot projects, and awareness-raising activities.
The European Social Fund Agency was delegated by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania to represent Lithuania in this project and to become a national Competence Center for Social Innovation. The ESF Managing Authority expects that through this project, the European Social Fund Agency will, in particular, support innovative projects, provide advice, knowledge and practical experience to public authorities on ESF + funding opportunities for Social Innovation, and organize training, discussions and networking at both.