1 day

40+ speakers

500+ attendees

Partnerships for maximizing social impact



The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ consists of 8 fully digitized online events. Each roadmap event focusses on a specific topic and aims to connect different Social Economy actors in Europe in a highly interactive format, present best practices and use cases as well as provide first-hand insights in interactive sessions from changemakers all around Europe. The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ strengthen the social economy in Europe and harness its contribution to economic development, social inclusion as well as green and digital transitions. 


Social economy relies on solid partnerships to generate changes in the communities they serve. Partnerships bring the European Commission and private and public partners together to address some of Europe’s most pressing challenges through concerted research and innovation initiatives. They are a key implementation tool of the European Commission, and contribute significantly to achieving the EU’s political priorities. The aim of European partnerships with the EU and associated countries, the private sector, foundations and other stakeholders is to deliver on global challenges and greening the economy. 

Our last #RoadtoMannheim event 29th April is dedicated to “partnerships for maximizing social impact”. It includes panels like „private institutions of social solidarity as maximizers of social impact“ hosted by the Universities of Jaén, Zagreb and Aveiro and workshops like „Social and Solidarity Economy: leading the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and a fair recovery“ with speakers such as Víctor Meseguer, Director of Social Economy Europe and Vic Van Vuuren, Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy. The event will conclude with a closing panel with representatives from the European Commission that answer regarding current challenges and questions of the social economy.



10.15 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute
Anna Athanasopoulou, Head of Unit DG GROW G2 – European Commission

10.30 am

Geoff Mulgan, Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation – University College London

10.45 am

Parallel Sessions & Insights (60 minutes)

Adoración Mozas Moral, Professor at Department of Business Organization, Marketing and Sociology – University of Jaén
Jelena Matančević, Assistant Professor at the Department for Social Policy, Faculty of Law – University of Zagreb
Rui Pedro Marques, Professor at Higher Institute of Accounting and Administration – University of Aveiro
Susana Bernardino, Full Professor of Management – Polytechnic of Porto – Institute of Accounting and Administration
Augusta Ferreira, Professor – University of Aveiro

The institutions of social solidarity have great relevance in the economy, as they develop relevant social and economic activities, supplying needs which are met by neither the State nor the Second Sector. In addition to sustainability, other challenges are currently posed to them, namely the demands both in terms of compliance with legal obligations and accountability, which are extremely high. The duty of transparency leads them to include all stakeholders in decision-making processes and to disclose their performance not only at economic and financial, but also social and environmental levels, enhancing their socially responsible behavior. This session brings together experts from different contexts and levels of application. Thus, enriched by the heterogeneity of experience, the speakers will share their experience and discuss different ways of helping entities to maximize their social impact, either through improving their performance, sustainability, or accountability.

Jeroo Billimoria, Serial Social Entrepreneur and founder of “Catalyst 2030”
Odin Mühlenbein, System change analyst and partner – Ashoka
Katharina Wagner, Engagement manager – McKinsey
Florian Rutsch, Co-Leader Europe Fellowship – Ashoka

In recent years, the conversation in the social sector has reflected increasing interest in supporting longer-term, more transformative changes – i.e., systems change. Systems change approaches address root causes rather than symptoms by altering, shifting, and transforming behavioral structures, customs, mindsets, power dynamics, and rules, with the intent of solving societal problems and with lasting effects on a local, national, and global level. These approaches require a new level of collaboration. In our session, we want to provide insights into systems thinking and collaborative action and put a spotlight on the role of funders in supporting systems change initiatives. The session is based of the report “Embracing Complexity. Towards a Shared Understanding of Funding Systems Change” published by Ashoka and McKinsey, in cooperation with Skoll Foundation, Schwab Foundation and Catalyst 2030, amongst others.

Bernard Bensaid, CEO – AVEC
Berthold Broll, CEO – Stiftung Liebenau
Benjamin Vitré, Director of development – AVEC
Ulrich Dobler, Head Department of Social Politics – Stiftung Liebenau

As highly convinced of the European Idea we believe this is a powerful way to foster the social dimension of the ESM – European Single Market. We are more smart and innovative together.

We need innovators and innovative thinking to face the common challenges. That is why we – the AVEC group/ France and the Stiftung Liebenau/ Germany – have joined forces to start a knowledge exchange in order to identify and discuss social innovations. Contents of this exchange currently cover the areas of digitalization, and platform solutions for social services, social innovation lab tools to foster social entrepreneur know how for our staff, HR recruiting and corporate sustainability strategies.

With a 45 min panel session we therefore would like to contribute to the EUSES conference goals by bringing up real social economy major challenging issues as well as discussing ways of solving social problems and creating services for people in need of support with examples from our two social organizations. Hereby we will contribute to European policy priorities (fit for the digital age, creating jobs and an economy that works for the people, European green deal and transnational partnering for the goals).

11.45 am

Main Panel: Presenting results from the sessions

12.00 pm

Lunch break & Parallel Programme

12.00 pm

Chiara Davalli, Senior Project Leader, European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN)

Ann Branch, Head of Unit, European Commission – DG Employment
Kristian Mancinone, Social Innovation Expert – ART-ER
Rocío Nogales Muriel, Executive Director – EMES

There is an undeniable link between strong economies, prosperity, social fairness and sustainable development. In the sustainable transition, the entrepreneurial innovators providing new solutions to tackle the global challenges we experience in our local, regional and national environments are the key enablers. Supporting those who support this new innovative kind of entrepreneurs should be part of the equation. As vehicles for sustainable growth, social and inclusive entrepreneurs are the cornerstones of a rapidly growing social economy sector.

Social entrepreneurship, as a movement and as a term, is moving rapidly into the mainstream. Also, inclusive entrepreneurship, specifically targeting under-represented groups in society can help tackle the growing inequalities Europe is experiencing. Actively including migrants, women and youth has the power to stimulate economic activity through job creation and by empowering individuals. It is about fairness and equity, the realisation of individual aspirations, economic empowerment and growth. It is both a moral and economic imperative.

The next era of entrepreneurship is about raising the bar, levelling the playing field, expanding participation and scaling the networks of social, financial and knowledge capital that provide the foundation for successful and sustainable start-ups and scalable businesses. Business support organisations (BSO), in all their varieties, could expand their scope and increase their role by providing capacity-building and support services to innovative SMEs taking up the call to deliver in the sustainable transition.

Being part of a leading international community, EBN and the 130+ EU|BICs (quality-certified business innovation centres) and 40+ Associate members are well-positioned to boost solutions to the challenges of our times by embracing social and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Marina Rudyak, University of Heidelberg
Noah Fleischer, LUB Mannheim


With a package of measures, 14 scientists from various disciplines want to bring the coronavirus under control in Germany, among others the virologist Melanie Brinkmann, the sociologist Heinz Bude & the economists Clemens Fuest and Andreas Peichl from the ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research. It proposes “green zones” with an incidence of less than <10 and a special toolbox with recommendations on (digital) education, economic and health measures. LUB supports the science team with special communication aids and automated language analytics, because: it is not possible to impart specialist expertise without comprehensible language. The project makes an important contribution to the Corona crisis through strategic partnerships between interdisciplinary science, municipalities and SMEs.

Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

The EUROPEAN IMPACT HERO is an acceleration programme focused on European impact-driven ventures to support their business with relevant expertise and industry connections.

This year we are supporting ventures which are working in the fields of climate neutrality, circular economy and supply chain – and are committed to driving a more social and sustainable future.

Apply now for our ‘Impact Hero Day’ on 25 May 2021 and become one of 30 selected ventures who will be aible to bring their business to the next level. Industry and sustainability experts as well as highly-motivated volunteers will join forces with you in solving your venture’s biggest challenge during one day!


01.00 pm

Lara Trikha, Mindfulness Coach

01.15 pm

Jean-Christophe Combe, Director General – French Red Cross

01.30 pm

Parallel Interactive Workshops (90 minutes)

Anna-Patricia Schmiß, Policy Advisor Finance and Impact – German Red Cross
Anna Beck De Francesco, New Financial Instruments, Major Donors & Foundations – Swedish Red Cross
James Magowan, Head of Centre for Social Impact Bonds, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports
Mara Airoldi, Director of the Government Outcomes Lab – University of Oxford
Young-jin Choi, Expert Impact Investing – PHINEO
Lara Seidel, Policy Advisor Finance and Impact – German Red Cross – National Headquarters

Which instruments drive collaboration within organisations but also across sectors? Which role can Social Impact Bonds play in this context? Expert speakers will discuss if and under which circumstances SIBs can promote collaborative ways of working within social sector organisations and between different sectors (public, private and social). Participants will gain theoretical and practical insights into the opportunities and challenges posed by SIBs for better collaboration. Building on the input, the participants will have the opportunity to share and discuss their own experiences with innovative digital, financial and organisational instruments that have promoted inner- and interorganizational collaboration as well as across sectors. The participants will brainstorm challenges to collaboration as well as possible solutions to overcome these. In the process they will gather new ideas and inspiration for boosting collaboration within their organisation and beyond.

Mario Calderini, Full professor – Politecnico of Milano

Karel Vanderpoorten, Policy Officer Social Economy – DG Grow
Anders Bro, Coordinator Partnership for Social Innovation – Örebro County
Raffaella Scalisi, Senior Advisor – Torino Social Impact 
Luigi Martignetti, Secretary General – REVES
Elisa Rosso, Senior Advisor and Projects Coordinator – Torino Social Impact
Coos Santing, Programm Manager Impact Economy – ImpactCity The Hague
Zoé Brevière, Coordinator of Initiative et Cité – Lille

The session will compare some EU cases, provide academic analysis and explore how these forms of cooperation strengthen the innovation capabilities of the partners, letting innovative solutions more likely to emerge than in situations where actors are acting alone without coordination. In addition to the clear advantages (knowledge sharing, advocacy, resources pooling, shared services, joint promotion, etc) local partnership, similarly to clusters mechanisms, lay on high quality synergies and are able to facilitate profitable inner exchanges, boosting solutions and their scalability and replicability. These frameworks have proven their effectiveness during the COVID-19 outbreak emergency, when fast information circulation and quick actors coordination turned to be essential to meet the needs of different communities and people’s groups, and are now playing a key role in the recovery programs.

Victoria Blessing – Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Nathalie da Silva – Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Franja Gabrovšek Schmidt – BSC, Business Support Centre
Johann Heep – Erste Group Bank AG
Katrin Hochberg – Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Miriam Mohr – Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Clémentine Roth – Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Tanja Tamše – Center-Noordung

Aspects where social innovations need support include creating the idea, prototyping, branding, business models and funding. The experts who are part of our workshop are not only experts on collaboration, but are also actively collaborating themselves to bring forward these topics within European projects. The session will both give an overview on different aspects of and ways to support collaboration and how they interlink with each other, and also go into depth in three specific aspects. Those aspects are: collaborative development of innovative social financing instruments, creating temporary innovation spaces for specific societal challenges and how policy measures can support intersectoral collaboration. In order to cover these three aspects in an interactive way, we will conduct a virtual fishbowl discussion on those different aspects, and reflect together how they relate to each other and create synergies.

Víctor Meseguer, Director – Social Economy Europe
Vic Van Vuuren, Chair of the UNTFSSE and Director of the Enterprises Department – ILO
Patrizia Bussi , Vice-President – SEE & SG – ENSIE
Diana Dovgan, Secretary General – CICOPA (tbc)
Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes, CEO – Euclid Network
Eva Cantele, General Delegate – SSE International Forum
Béatrice Alain, Executive Director of “Chantier de l’économie sociale”, Co-chair of TIESS and CIRIEC-Canada
Gianluca Salvatori, CEO – EURICSE
Elisa Torrenegra, Co-President – SSE International Forum, Vice-President of the American Region at AIM & Executive Director of GESTARSALUD

This session will examine how and why the SSE plays – in a pluralist economy – a transformative role in pursuing the SDGs and highlight the urgency to unlock its potential to tackle the today structural economic, societal, social and environmental crises. Policy recommendations will be discussed to feed into international debate and the European Action Plan for the Social Economy.

Check out the detailed agenda here

03.00 pm

Panel: Workshop Hosts presenting results / Discussion with EU officials
Anna Athanasopoulou, Head of Unit – DG GROW G2 – European Commission
Ann Branch, Head of Unit – DG EMPL – European Commission

03.30 pm

Conclusion on the #RoadToMannheim event series
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Christiane Ram, Director Economic Development – City of Mannheim

03.50 pm

Graphical review on the #RoadToMannheim event series
Robin Hotz, Graphical recorder

04.00 pm

Conclusion & The End