During a nine-month pilot program, the Development Bank of Saxony-Anhalt and MITZ Mrseburg supported young startups - and those who wanted to become founders – in Developing their socially innovative ideas into marketable business models, thus creating sustainable solutions for rural areas in Saxony-Anhalt.

The aim of the pilot project was to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship, to foster entrepreneurial spirit and to contribute to the establishment of a powerful ecosystem for social entrepreneurs while drawing recommendations for their better support.
Additionally, the regional pilot program enabled a process of mutual learning between the pilot participants as well as the involved partners and stakeholders while testing and improving the selected tools of the toolbox developed within the DelFin project. (www.support4SE.eu)

The pilot started off with a call for ideas which resulted in 10 selected project ideas starting their pilot program with a kick-off workshop held in July 2020. During the ninemonth program, pilot participants participated in group trainings, individual mentoring and coaching sessions, focusing on business modeling and planning; impact measurement; development of individual financing and funding strategy. Within the pilot program, the participants took part in more than 16 modules, each designed as a combination of training and coaching opportunities, to improve their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. Furthermore, regional stakeholders joined three pilot workshops to provide pilot participants with additional support.

The official ending of the regional pilot program of Saxony-Anhalt was marked by the final pilot workshop on March 11, 2021. This event wrapped up the experiences and lessons learned made within the past nine months: Pilot participants as well as experts and stakeholders discussed findings of the pilot phase and analyzed how to foster social entrepreneurship in Saxony-Anhalt in the future. Especially thematic trainings and coordinated coaching in combination with a need-orientated approach and feedback opportunities during the program have been proven as success factors.

Furthermore, raising awareness, acceptance and potential for collaboration in the field of social entrepreneurship are indispensable for its forthcoming development. Findings and results of the final workshop and the pilot program will be summarized in the evaluation report and used in the upcoming capacity building seminars, as well as by the interdisciplinary working group on social entrepreneurship in Saxony-Anhalt