Social Entrepreneurship on Local Heritage


Tool No. 2: Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship on Local Heritage

Description of the tool

Social entrepreneurship targets the underserved, developing sustainable business ideas (products and services) to address common societal challenges and create transformational social value. This approach has the potential to create job opportunities and generate income to unemployed people, especially youth. It also promotes social inclusion, enhancing people’s self-steam and sense of belonging to their communities by valuing traditions, preserving ancient knowledge and protecting the environment. Thus, contributing to the socio-economic development of local communities and also to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Ecomuseums’ work contributes to the study, preservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage. Making a social investment in their communities (using a strategy called Venture Philanthropy) would maximize value creation, ensure the sustainability of their work and enhance social impact. This investment could be non-financial, as many ecomuseums have scarce financial resources. Ecomuseums could support social entrepreneurs with their expertise on local heritage, providing capacity-building, establishing partnerships, facilitating networking and fundraising activities, for example. Here we propose steps to plan, implement and monitor this social investment, also indicating some resources to apply this tool.

Guidelines to apply the tool

  • Mapping your assets: Identifying the resources that the ecomuseum has to offer (expertise, installations, human resources, partnerships, funding, etc.). One example is the knowledge gained from the participative inventory of the local heritage (see “Participatory Inventory” tool): what to recover, protect, preserve and promote.
  • Assessing the needs of the community: Using suitable qualitative research methods (interviews, surveys, focus groups, etc.) to: (a) identify social and environmental issues of local concern (such as youth unemployment, marginalized groups, social exclusion, elderly isolation, deforestation, water pollution, wildlife extinction, etc.); (b) verify community members’ availability and willingness to participate; (c) identify relevant stakeholders and target groups; (d) also raise awareness and motivate them.
  • Planning activities: Based on the results of the previous steps, co-develop (with the identified relevant stakeholders and target groups) a detailed support plan, including baselines, goals, milestones, and target outcomes for the participants.
  • Delivering the support: Brainstorming and developing problem-focused and solutions-oriented innovative ways to tackle societal challenges, using the available resources and seeking external support (capacity-building, networking, partnerships, fundraising, etc.).
  • Measuring impact: Create a mechanism to monitor the social impact of the initiatives, gaining valuable inputs to better manage the process and make necessary adjustments to maximize/optimize it.
  • Sharing the results: Communicate the successes and/or lessons learned from the initiatives to promote them, engage the public and inspire others (see “Integrated Marketing Communication” tool).

Support materials

The publication ”Adding value through non-financial support – A practical guide”, published by the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), plots the costs and added value of non-financial support. It also lists the best ways to encourage your investees and grantees to produce solid societal outcomes.

Developed by the “Prosoa Rural” project (2018-2020), co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, the “Social Entrepreneurship and Cultural Heritage” training module aims to promote the initiative and social entrepreneurship of young people based on Cultural Heritage and Traditions.

The comprehensive training course developed by the “Cultural Heritage Entrepreneurs” (CHEER) project (2018-2020), also co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, provides support to participants to find business ideas, develop social enterprises, provide local capacity building and foster social inclusion with focus on local cultural practices and heritage.

The report “Measuring and managing impact – A practical guide”, also developed by the EVPA, provides tips on how to implement impact measurement in five easy-to-understand steps, at the level of both the social investors and their investees.

Scientific Coordinators