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EFB at Impact 2019 Conference, February 19-20, 2019, Belgrade

After Impact 2018, the European Fund for the Balkans supported the organization of the second 2019 edition of this conference (February 19 – 20, Belgrade) as a newly established initiative that coincides with the Fund’s focus on the social capacity building in the Western Balkans. A number of EFB Community members and participants of EFB’s last year hackathons Balkan Connect 2018 took part in this unique and first of a kind conference in South-East Europe, which is focused on accelerating the effect of social impact.

In the face of new and more urgent societal and environmental challenges daily, the organizers Brodoto Serbia and ACT Group brought together the key change makers and impact enablers and providers – impact investors, impact ventures, corporates, foundations and non-governmental organizations, and other key players.

Impact 2018 was all about the European and American pioneers of social impact who came to Zagreb to showcase the best practices, ideas and projects. In 2019, the organizers invited the leaders in the industry of impact investing, management, promotion and measurement to Belgrade, hosting more than 250 impacters at Kombank Hall.

Two days of TED-like talks, engaging and focused panel discussions, pitch sessions and much more with one underlying theme – creating and scaling impact, and doing it fast.

Our EFB Community member Vladica Jovanovic who is now an Executive Directress of the organizer of Impact 2019 – Brodoto Serbia, opened the conference as its chair.

– According to UN latest reports we only have 12 years to prevent the irreversible damage to our planet – the clock indeed is ticking. This is why Impact 2019 is probably the greenest event in Belgrade: there is no plastic in this event, no paper waste unless necessary, and all of the plane miles and other negative carbon footprint will go through carbon offsetting in Vis island. Achieving the high objective of this event – mainstreaming impact investing and accelerating ecosystem building – is important precisely because we have so little time to create real action, and reverse the clock. We brought more than 10 investment funds, 30 investors, and invited startups and social enterprises from the entire region to make sure their voices are heard. We organized an investment readiness program, and we will start building a regional investors network in months after the conference.

David Batstone (Just Business) who was part of the EFB Talks 2018, came to the region once more to launch the conference programme as a keynote speaker. He shared the list of successful stories and vast experience from his company’s social business ventures across the world.

-To accelerate social change, you need the best professionals. We should not lower our expectations just because we are working for a cause. And let’s not forget that for impact you need to have quality, not just a story – said Batstone.

Thinking and dreaming big,  bringing change on micro and macro level and creating a friendly ecosystem and customized educational frames as a good base for the development of the social businesses were just some of the aspects that were presented as much needed for building the basis for establishing a culture of social entrepreneurship in the region.

The EFB Balkan Connect 2018 hackathon winners from Serbia were part of the Impact ventures pitch session, along with the other 8 selected teams from the region, who were given the opportunity to present their ideas for social businesses in front of the jury consist of impact investors, investment funds and corporates.

 

 

The conference was also an open space for networking and an opportunity to meetings and collaboration with exciting international organisations, funds, ventures and businesses. Social impact investors from across the globe met with potential investees from the region, who presented their ideas during the pitch sessions. The participants had an opportunity to learn more about the impact in climate change mitigation, agriculture, responsible consumption, education and children, women and employment, human rights and migration. The finale of the conference was reserved for the awards for the best non-profit campaigns in 2018 (Winners for Serbia Mogu da nećuAutonomni ženski centar, “Kečigi je mesto u reci, a ne na vašem tanjiru” WWF Srbija  and “Odbranimo reke Stare planine” /Winners for Croatia Boranka Savez izviđača Hrvatske, Prekinimo šutnju u organizaciji RODA – Roditelji u akciji i Fierce Women K-Zone)

More info at: http://www.impactconference.net/