Contest for social entrepreneurs helping children in Russia

Fifth All-Russian competition: ‘Encounters with change’ foundation seeks social entrepreneurs  to help children

15.03 2019

The ‘Encounters with change – 2019’ competition invites participation from projects offering innovative ways of assisting children’s development and education, and protecting the lives and health of the young. The purpose of the contest is to support people and organisations working on new ways of resolving children’s issues in their region. Social entrepreneurs from all regions in Russia are eligible to take part. Participants must register on the foundation’s website by 14 June 2019.

Competition categories:

‘An innovative project’ – social and business projects, with large-scale potential, that are new to Russia.

‘A local project’ – social and business projects for people living in a single, populated area of the Russian Federation, with a population of up to 150,000.

‘Digital’ – a project addressing a social problem with the help of online technology. This can include the creation of portals, electronic services, mobile apps, educational platforms for children, video courses, VR/AR.

In 2019, the judges will select at least one project from each category.  Winners will receive a prize of up to 1.2 million roubles from the foundation to start up their project.  All finalists will receive specially designed individual programmes for assistance  and professional development. In addition, finalists will be given information support within their region, as well as consultative help to develop their projects.  This will be designed in the form of a business incubator, where employees of partner companies will act as mentors.

The competition will fall into several phases. Between 15 March and 14 June social entrepreneurs may apply to participate. Between 17 June and 5 July, the foundation’s employees and volunteers from partner companies will look through projects and make a preliminary selection. Between 5 July and 30 July, representatives of regional business associations, state bodies and non-commercial organisations working with children, as well as foundation staff, will examine selected projects. A short-list will be drawn up to be presented at the semi-final of the contest. An administrative examination will take place concurrently to verify the authenticity of information provided.

Between 15 August and 1 November, participants of the semi-final will take part in training seminars on the following topics: the contemporary relevance of social issues addressed in the project; drawing up a business plan; creating a value proposition; sources of finance; PR and marketing.  Training will take place during internal sessions lasting 1-2 days. Foundation staff and partner companies will carry out internal interviews with every participant. The choice of finalists will be based on the results of the seminars.

On 21 November, finalists will come to Moscow for an internal ‘defence’ of their project before a panel of judges made up of top managers from partner companies and the children of company employees.  They will assess projects according to the following criteria: clear presentation of the issue to be addressed; social effects; the professional and personal qualities of the designer of the project.

The ‘Encounters with change – 2018’ competition received 298 registrations from social entrepreneurs. Details of projects that reached the final are available on the foundation website.