Social entrepreneurship

Note: This page is frequently updated. It is by no means complete. These resources provide comprehensive updates.

Logo for BeyondCSRNet
is a startup social entrepreneurship organization with operations in London and Athens. Inspired by the Global Goals on Sustainable Development, linking today’s enterprises to tomorrow’s business models, by turning CSR into an Impact Investment Tool aim at Community Development and Social Change.

Who we are
We are team of experts from diverse backgrounds.Committed in social innovation and entrepreneurship as cornerstones of impact activity.Aim at transforming CSR into a Systemic Change mechanism that will lead to prosperity, growth and development. Intent at building a network of likeminded stakeholders.


Logo for Campfire Innovation
Campfire Innovation promotes innovative humanitarian aid. We support the growth of humanitarian aid solutions created by grassroot teams or startup teams.

Interview with the founder, Ioanna Theodorou
Interview with the founder, Ioanna Theodorou, about innovative tech

Logo for Cause2Create
Cause2Create is a network of businesses and individuals that provide a creative resource for good causes; giving skills, time and ideas to help create positive change.


Logo for Changemakers Lab
Changemakers Lab enables entrepreneurs and key stakeholders to cooperate and cocreate impactful and sustainable solutions that solve social challenges #socent #impinv 

Changemakers Lab provides locals, refugees and social entrepreneurs with a platform to develop their skills, co-create sustainable businesses and attract foreign direct investment, stimulating local economic development, job creation opportunities and integration.

Social Entrepreneurship - a business that has a positive impact on society, whilst being self sustainable / making a profit

Impact Investment is investing in initiatives that have a greater return than “profits” / monetary value. “Returns” would include wellness, environmental impact, happiness, job satisfaction, job creation, etc.

The Lesvos Coworking Hub
Purpose of the hub
We plan to set up a tech hub at Kara Tepe and in the city centre. It will be a space where locals, talented refugees, NGO’s, entrepreneurs from the outside and investors work together to create and/or test solutions. Solutions for issues relating to the refugee crisis, but also solutions that create permanent jobs, that serve clients worldwide and attract international investors.

Activities in the hub
The Changemakers Lab hub is an entrepreneurial co-­working space focused on creating new solutions and jobs. Learning, incubation and acceleration programmes is the core of our activities at Changemakers Lab. Our focus is on the tech and creative community. Through Changemakers Lab, we invite locals and refugees to come together and assist in integration.

Our ambition is to grow the Changemakers Lab initiative into a major leading tech and creative hub in the mediterranean area.

The following projects / programmes have been identified as areas of interest which we would like to launch early (in July/August) and which we believe could be key catalysts for economic development on the island:
•   testing and implementing solutions for humanitarian challenges
•   tech skills development (for both locals and refugees)
•   business skills development
•   support for local social impactful enterprises
•   impact tourism


Logo for Migration Hub Network
Migration Hub Network is a new node between volunteers and activists, social entrepreneurs, migrants and other stakeholders. It connects initiatives, promotes mutual exchange, stimulates to build new, creative solutions and should help to ensure that each project can realize its full potential.

The aim is to create multiple synergies, and by civic engagement use opportunities of migration. Here, Migration Hub Berlin is particularly dedicated to the task of establishing national and international links between initiatives, initiators and volunteers, so that working solutions spread quickly and can also be built elsewhere. Scalable solutions - such as currently being built in Germany and throughout Europe - have a very high value in such a ubiquitous crisis.

The heart of Migration Hub is a co-working office where initiatives are able to connect and work. In addition, regular networking events will also take place, as well as Hackathons in order to bring the fast-growing scene together.


Logo for Startnext
Innovators and creatives are often faced with the same challenges: promoting their ideas, attracting supporters, and raising the necessary funds. We founded Startnext in 2010 as Germany’s first crowdfunding platform to help support these innovators. Startnext gives inventors, creative people, social entrepreneurs and makers the opportunity to present their ideas and projects, raise funds with the support of several people, and build a community.

Startnext is now the largest crowdfunding community for creative and sustainable projects and startups in the German-speaking countries. With our team we work every day to bring new ideas to life and continue developing Startnext with the help of our rapidly growing community.

Note. Startnext supports many people who are innovating services for refugees in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. There is a comprehensive list of their many projects on their website.


Logo for startupboat
Inspired guests on the Startupboat will design their visions for a world that is positively influenced by migration in 5 years time.

“We connect changemakers who volunteer in light of the European refugee crisis.”


Logo for Startup Safary
Startup Safary addresses the problem that it’s difficult to join a startup ecosystem. It’s difficult for many different groups of people: those looking for jobs, would be founders or even people wanting to start investing or large companies trying to work with startups. 

Startup Safary is designed to act as a perfect gateway to the ecosystem. 

Participating companies open doors and invite attendees to their own offices to share with them more about how they work, what they are working on and who they are. 

The event is an opportunity to understand how the startup ecosystem works in a given city. Attendees get a chance to find out who are the main players and meet them.


Logo for UNHCR Innovation
UNHCR Innovation partners with people inside and outside of UNHCR to innovate with and for refugees. 

We work collaboratively with refugees, academia, and the private sector to creatively address challenges faced by uprooted or stateless people worldwide. Whether it’s co-developing mobile tracking technology for distributing supplies with UPS, or applying IKEA’s flat-pack principles to designing shelter, if there’s a more efficient, more sustainable way to meet refugees’ needs, we will find it, learn from it, and promote it.

Our Innovation Labs are where we get to the practical details of adopting innovative approaches throughout UNHCR. Through our Innovation Labs we launch, support, and develop projects that focus on the needs of the forcibly displaced at each stage of the project design process. Labs are a space of experimentation, where we derive lessons from both success and failure. Labs are also collaborative and inter-connected. Most importantly, Labs are adaptive. This means that the work of the Lab doesn’t end when we find a solution. Rather, we aim to constantly refine that solution, get feedback from the end-user (refugees), and iterate. 

Each year we welcome a group of 20 UNHCR staff and affiliates to the Innovation Fellowship. iFellows (as they’re called) embody the creativity and diversity of the thousands of staff at UNHCR. They work in field operations around the world and at headquarters, and represent a range of nationalities. But, the one thing they have in common is an innovative idea to better serve refugees. We work with them throughout the year as they shape and develop their ideas, and connect them to resources, knowledge, and each other.

We aim to give refugees and the forcibly displaced an equal voice and vote in creating solutions to their toughest challenges. So when it comes to finding new ways to approach existing challenges within refugee communities, we take a ‘bottom-up’ approach. One of the many ways we do this is through online crowdsourcing. We are piloting a crowdsourcing platform, UNHCR Ideas, to generate ideas from UNHCR staff, partners, and refugee communities. These ideas are voted on and vetted by the online community, end-users (refugees), and experts, and then tested in the field through private sector partnerships.

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires collaboration, and arises from fluid, open exchanges between diverse sectors. This is where the Innovation Circle plays a key role. They are a group of venture philanthropists and social entrepreneurs who represent a range of sectors. They turn their shared passion for innovation and refugees into tangible commitments to provide capital and expertise for innovative projects within UNHCR. 

We believe that lack of access to funding should never be a barrier to the innovation process. This is why we created the UNHCR Innovation Fund, which started with a multi-million dollar initial investment and continues to grow. This fund enables and facilitates the prototyping, testing, and production of new, creative solutions to the challenges faced by refugees and the forcibly displaced.

Innovation thrives when there is open dialogue, and so we harness the power of communication to drive a conversation about innovation both inside and outside UNHCR. We seek to continually engage UNHCR staff, partners, and refugees, and listen to them as they define challenges and propose solutions. What comes out of these open dialogues informs our work. And, we aim to share what we learn with the broader humanitarian community, and inspire their innovative projects.


Last updated April 6, 2017

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