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EU appoints experts to measure results of social innovation

The EU Commission’s initiative for social innovation, the Social Business Initiative, has resulted in a working group for impact measurement of social innovation. Erika Augustinsson and Forum for Social Innovation Sweden is one of the appointed experts within this field.

In connection with the EU initiative for social entrepreneurship, known as the ”Social Business Initiative”, SBI, whose mandate includes presenting guidelines for a common policy for social entrepreneurship in Europe, has appointed an external group of experts, GECES. The purpose of GECES is to support and give feedback to SBI. Within this group of experts another group has been appointed to focus on impact measurements – how to measure results and methods for measuring results of social innovation. The reason behind this is the suggestion to form a new certification for a ”European Social Entrepreneurship Fund” EuSEF.

DG Markt, DG Employment and DG Enterprise appointed 16 members to be part of this group of experts for impact measurements at it’s last meeting in October and among these experts appointed is Erika Augustinsson, head of environmental scanning, strategy and policy at Forum for Social Innovation Sweden (in swedish Mötesplats Social Innovation).

– This is of course exiting news. We can provide a Nordic perspective to the EU Commission’s work on social innovation and finance, says Erika Augustinsson and explains further that it is through the collaboration which Forum for Social Innovation Sweden has with other stakeholders in this field, as well as a broad international and national network, that has made this expert appointment possible

Being part of this group of experts means that Forum for Social Innovation in practice contributes it’s competencies within social innovation and it’s focal areas which include result measurement, business and community development, finances and business models as well as management and organisation.

The importance of measuring results is particularly important right now as many actors in this field are looking for alternative financial methods to support social innovation and social entrepreneurs. Without the opportunity of measuring what these entrepreneurs and initiatives are actually accomplishing it is difficult to achieve a flow of capital in their direction.

– It is very exciting that we can be part of shaping the European poicy for social innovation – a difficult yet important task, which we are happy to take on, says Augustinsson and ads that measuring results is the most difficult issue right now in this field.

On the question of what she hopes the future holds for this working group, Augustinsson shares a hope for concretization of those initiatives which exist on the European agenda, what impact they might have on the individual countries of the EU and of course how this will affect the development of social investments in Sweden.

– We are seeing that both Norway and Denmark have initiated social investment funds and are using SROI, Social return on investment, in order to measure social impact. I wonder when we will see such a development in Sweden?

– Historically we have measured profit in terms of monetary value, now we also want to measure social impact. How will we do this? There are many methods for measuring impact and this is an object of frequent discussion among social entrepreneurs as well as impact investors.

On November 26th this group of experts will convene in Brussels for their first meeting to review what they are expected to focus on during the period 2012-2017.

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