FITD panel discussion: Social entrepreneurship in the Republic of North Macedonia is growing, but more support is needed

The key challenges facing social entrepreneurship in the country, reasons why the development of social entrepreneurship is important and the measures taken by the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development were the topics discussed by Kosta Petrov, Director of FITD, Bistra Kumbaroska, founder of “Heartbeats Innovation & Communication” and Vice President of the National Startup Council, Klimentina Ilijevski, Executive Director of the Association for Research, Communications and Development “Public”and Kristijan Mileski, co-founder of “Business Impact Lab”.

The panelists pointed out that at this moment, the biggest step taken by the country for the development of social entrepreneurship is through the public call of FITD, which encourages the development of the social economy.

“Social entrepreneurship is the opportunity you have when faced with a certain problem, to create a solution that among other things will generate a social benefit which like the traditional business, must be measurable or expressed” said Bistra Kumbaroska explaining the term of social entrepreneurship.

Kumbaroska added that this type of entrepreneurship in the last few years has begun to develop intensively, customers are becoming aware of the impact of the companies have in the society and on the other hand, employees are becoming aware of the impact the company that are working in, have in the society.

“Exactly what is happening at this moment, with the proposed measures of the National Startup Council is a clear signal that social entrepreneurship is beginning to develop and this support really means a lot” said Kristijan Mileski.

According to Mileski, social enterprises are recognized by the startup community and enjoy the same rights and obligations as other enterprises. He added that “Impact Lab” is an open association that functions today, in order to encourage cooperation with traditional businesses, to achieve joint cooperation, networking and exchange of experiences and knowledge.

Klimentina Ilijevski as editor-in-chief of the magazine “Face to Face” which is a successful example of social entrepreneurship, said that at the beginning they faced great challenges, but from all that they gained a lot of experience. The way the newspaper is sold and distributed is in cooperation with ten partner associations and their users. The magazine has a dual role, it strengthens the vulnerable categories but also raises public awareness on issues that affect us all. “The experience we gained helped us to develop the social mentorship program, which has been verified, already started and includes three segments: recognizing the affinities of the mentee, readiness to enter the labor market and developing professional skills” added Ilijevski.

Speakers believe that it is necessary to define labels according to certain criteria that will help all parties involved to categorize and label social enterprises.

The adoption of legislation on social entrepreneurship is necessary, but not more important than the awareness of the impact that each individual and enterprise has on society, is one of the conclusions of the panel.

Currently, there is an active public call for encouraging social entrepreneurship at FITD, which encourages the development of innovative solutions to current social needs and societal challenges (social innovation), while ensuring sustainable and inclusive development.

The total budget of the call is six million denars, while for an individual project proposal FITD provides up to 90% of the total budget for the project, in a maximum amount of 1,500,000 denars and the applicant must provide a minimum of 10% of the total budget of the call.

The deadline for applying for the call is October 22, until 2 pm, additional information can be obtained at: