Torino Social Factory aims at supporting bottom-up initiatives promoted by third sector organizations, that can produce positive impacts in terms of social inclusion and job creation in targeted areas of Turin with problems of socio-economic exclusion, according to an approach of self-sustainability.
Torino Social Factory is a process of recognition, selection, capacity building, incubation and start-up of social entrepreneurs. It is promoted by Turin Municipality which operates as the intermediate body for the implementation of the National Operational Programme “Metropolitan Cities” (PON Metro), managed by the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion.
At a first stage, Turin Municipality selected through a public call 25 projects of social innovation in the targeted areas, that were able to produce positive impacts on “urban poverty, social vulnerabilities, unemployment, cultural integration and social cohesion”. The proposals needed to be experimental, to develop innovative approaches of proximity and community welfare for social needs that had not been successfully treated by traditional models of public intervention yet.
In substantive terms, the 25 projects proposed have addressed very different target groups such as inhabitants, immigrant families and families with economic difficulties, women, unemployed young people, students, senior citizens, people with psychic disabilities, prisoners and unaccompanied foreign minors. The solutions varied from community hubs offering various services for the inhabitants to accessible baby parkings, from reactivation of abandoned assets to emporiums selling second hand clothing, from training activities to mini-incubation programs, from food distribution to artisan bakeries.
From March to May 2018, the promoters of the selected projects have been supported by an Incubation Lab: a process structured in 4 workshops that has tried to transfer knowledge to the teams. The Incubation Lab has been provided by Make a cube3, an incubator with a sound expertise in supporting and accelerating new ventures with high environmental, cultural and social value, selected by Turin Municipality through a tender. Each workshop focused on specific issues: identity, vision and mission
of the entrepreneurial ideas, Product-Service-System Design, creating and strengthening of hard and soft skills, validation and access to market (assessing the competitive scenario, marketing and communication), business modelling, business planning, governance, impact design.
After completing the Incubation Lab, the teams were asked to develop a more advanced version of their initial proposals and submit the revised versions of the projects for the final assessment. In July, at the end of the assessment procedure, 12 projects were approved and received a grant up to 140,000 Euros.
The second stage of the programme will start this September and will continue for one year, whilst the projects will have two years for their implementation. It will consist of two different strands of activities.
The first one will regard the 12 awarded teams, that will receive a support for accelerating their projects in order to increase their feasibility and to help them networking, finding partners and clients and communicating their intermediate results. The activities foresee:
– a Social Innovation Camp, a one day event in which the teams will have the opportunity to present their projects to experts, mentors and social investors;
– a help desk to support the teams individually;
– a support for the teams in reporting.
The second strand will address the teams that have not been funded. The support will help them in detecting the weaknesses of their proposal, in finding ways to improve it and in scouting new opportunities for fundraising.
Finally, communications activities have been deployed during the whole development process of Torino Social Factory. They consisted in the creation of the official website of the programme (torinosocialfactory.it) and its content: blog posts, interviews, videos, photos, event reporting and graphic materials which have been regularly edited and posted on the website. The content produced has also been spread through social media (mainly on Facebook and Twitter) in order to involve the communities of Social Innovators and to ensure the widest reach of the initiative.
Progetto cofinanziato dall’Unione Europea – Fondi Strutturali di Investimento Europei – Programma Operativo Città Metropolitane 2014-2020