Filipe Almeida: “We were pioneers in negotiating a package with the European Commission to finance social innovation”

Over the past seven years, by contacting social entrepreneurs, Filipe Almeida, president of the Portugal Social Innovation Mission Structure, a public initiative to support social innovation in Portugal, learned how to make a recipe for this sector.

The ingredients are simple: 100 grams of concern (in the face of a social problem that worries us and has no solution), 200 gr. of imagination (having a creative idea to try to solve it), 300 gr. of collaboration (finding the right partners and institutions to make the project work), and 400 gr. motivation (forming an exceptional team to withstand difficulties). Then sprinkle with love to taste. Portugal Social Innovation is the yeast that allows the cake to grow.

“A lot of cakes have already grown!†he says, proudly. With European funding, with funds from Portugal 2020 mobilized to develop this ecosystem, “we have already approved 698 cakes, developed by 481 kitchen teams. All of this alongside 848 suppliers,” he jokes, continuing with the comparison of the cooking recipe. Currently, they are already in Portugal 2030.

The country has become one of the most dynamic ecosystems in the world. It all started in 2014, when the Portuguese government was negotiating the package for the next seven years with the European Commission, like the other Member States.

But Portugal was the only one to negotiate a “very original†public policy program to promote social innovation. “At the time it was a relatively eccentric option for a Member State, but today the European Commission has made it mandatory for everyone.†. With this step, a dynamic ecosystem was created. “This pioneering spirit continues today,†argues Filipe Almeida.

If on the one hand we were pioneers in the issue of social innovation, on the other a country that is at the forefront of the most developed still has a lot to do socially, after all 36% of the poor have a job and a contract stable job, but they are unable to live with dignity.

Filipe Almeida also highlights that there are 152 thousand children in Portugal currently living in extreme poverty. “This alone would be enough to keep us from sleeping,†he notes. However, the issue of there being 183 elderly people for every 100 young people is also, in his opinion, another issue that should keep us up at night, as well as social isolation and mental illnesses. “There is much to be done, hence the importance of social innovation†, as its purpose is to improve the way we live in society.

Podcast_To be or not to be_ Filipe

Filipe Almeida also spoke about the ethics and responsibility of companies and what they should do to include social innovation in their strategies. And he admits that seven years ago he had to knock loudly and insistently on the doors of all companies to explain to them what social investment was in order to mobilize them to co-finance social innovation projects.

“Today we already have a business ecosystem moving in this direction,†he says. As for the fact that companies can use this strategy to look good in photographs, he says that “looking good in photographs is only wrong if it is to hide or disguise other bad sins†.

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Mario Henriques


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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