1 day

40+ speakers

500+ attendees

Digital education & training

Youth at the heart of the social economy



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. 


In her political guidelines, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the need to unlock the potential of digital technologies for learning and teaching and to develop digital skills for all. Education and training are key for personal fulfilment, social cohesion, economic growth and innovation.

The Digital Education Action Plan outlines the European Commission’s vision for high-quality, inclusive and accessible digital education in Europe. With our #RoadtoMannheim event on “Digital education & training – Youth at the heart of the social economy” we want to strengthen cooperation at European level and discuss how we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis and make education and training systems fit for the digital age.



10.15 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Marika Bernhard, Host and Chairwoman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit – DG GROW, European Commission

10.30 am

Ibrahim Ouassari, Founder – MolenGeek

10.45 am

Parallel Sessions & Insights (60 minutes)

Dominic Orr, Team lead – atingi learning platform, GIZ
Rolf Reinhardt, Concierge – International Council on Badges & Credentials
Sabrina Konzok, Head of Business Development – Kiron Open Higher Education 

The current pandemic and the expected “new normal” has already shown that we are entering a century of “new learning”, both in schools and regarding lifelong learning. Bringing together three experts in digital education approaches, learning platforms, and new certification formats, this panel will discuss the newest trends and approaches in the EdTech sector. As rapid transformation needs opportunities to adapt to these, digital education will face an unseen disruption in the coming years. 

Matthias Guett, Managing Director – SPIN Sport Innovation
Paul Beenen – Principal Lecturer, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, UNESCO Chair in Futures Literacy
Maria Nordheim Alme – Associate Professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
Joost van Wijchen – Senior Lecturer, HAN University of Applied Sciences

The SDG are an important example of complex challenges we face today. To build capacity towards their resolution, we need to develop better understanding of how complex social challenges can be influenced and co-driven by education. Education providers need to open up to multiple learning pathways to empower learners to build capacity for social innovation and sustainability transition and to embrace its inherent complexity. This cannot be taught in classrooms but requires a continuous learning process of combined formal and informal learning within the practice. In this light, the session provides an insight into a dynamic teaching and learning systematic for complexity-orientated learning. It supports learners in their capability to promote changes in complexity. The framework allows for education programs that are connected to real-life learning environments. It leads to learners who are prepared to anticipate emergence and future to tackle the grand societal challenges of today.

Jakob Detering, Managing Director – Social Impact Award
Elene Jvania, Co-Founder & Director -Impact Hub Tbilisi
Dita Formánková, Co-Founder of Czechitas & SIA Alumna

In disruptive times like these, it is more important than ever to attract entrepreneurial talent to the field of social entrepreneurship and enable nascent entrepreneurs to unfold the full impact potential of their ventures. The session gives an insight into the experiences of Social Impact Award throughout their ten years of work, how a program like SIA can work as a pipeline, and how this experience is through the eyes of an alumna herself. Social Impact Award (SIA) is Europe’s largest community of early-stage social innovators under 30. Since 2009, SIA has trained more than 31,000 young people under 30 through 1,000+ workshops and events in 25 countries, incubated about 730 promising impact ventures and provided 300+ teams with awards and funding. In this session, the participants will co-creatively discuss questions such as: How can we attract the best talents into the field of social entrepreneurship? What does it take to turn promising ideas into feasible enterprises?

11.45 am

Main Panel: Presenting results from the sessions

12.00 pm

Lunch break & Parallel Programme

12.00 pm

Nazik Beishenaly, Researcher – KU Leuven
Frédéric Dufays, Assistant professor – KU Leuven
Athina Christina Kornelaki, Post-doctoral Researcher – School of Education, University of Ioannina
Amanda Benson – Co-operative College
Lorenzo Novaro, Project coordinator – Cooperatives Europe

Cooperative enterprises make a great contribution to the European social economy by creating jobs, stimulating innovations and growth. Lack of structured knowledge and understanding of the particularities of the cooperative business model undermines both policies and practices of cooperative entrepreneurship. The governance of cooperatives and the cooperative business model represent a rich source of knowledge in terms of promoting entrepreneurship, but also the values of solidarity, trust, democracy and cooperation. In the digitalised world, cooperatives, especially platform cooperatives, represent a new business model that differs from both privately owned businesses and traditional cooperatives. This requires an important investment in new knowledge as well as building an enabling environment and regulatory framework that can accommodate innovative forms of cooperative. Therefore education  and professional training at all levels  are crucial for building necessary skills and competences for working, managing, and regulating cooperative enterprises. However, this is a challenge, particularly when considering the impact of digital technologies on education institutions, enterprises, workers, consumers, and society at large. The objective of the session is to present the main lines of the policy debate and recommendations on cooperative entrepreneurship in higher education, discuss the challenges from different perspectives, and together identify the opportunities and innovative solutions that might be offered by the ongoing crisis.

01.00 pm

Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

01.15 pm

Gaele Regnault, CEO & Founder – LearnEnjoy

01.30 pm

Parallel Interactive Workshops (90 minutes)

Jan Wilker, Project Manager StartNet – Goethe-Institut
Gesa Spätling – Project Officer StartNet, Goethe-Institut
Heike Fleischmann – Head of department, City of Mannheim

In our online session at the EUSES event on youth, we will engage diverse participants, practitioners, decision-makers and other stakeholders from all across Europe. Together we will discuss the results of the StartNet project and how social economy can best support quality education for successful transitions, cooperation and innovation across countries and sectors. We also aim to jointly learn lessons from COVID-19 times regarding the future of education, work and resilience to continuous change. StartNet connects NGOs, non-profit, and foundation partners working on youth, education and employment, but also regional and local authorities, such as the Education Department of the City of Mannheim. With our local partner in the hosting city, we emphasise the cooperation between the social economy and the public sector, aiming to inspire other partnerships.

Annabelle Favreau, Project manager – GPEX
Elin McCallum, CEO – Bantani Education
Ellen Fetzer, Nürtingen-Geislingen University
Julia Schönborn, SEEd – Social Entrepreneurship Education for schools

Thanks to this workshop the participants will have the opportunity to gather learning and insights from different projects from different parts of Europe that are being developed on social entrepreneurship education and will be able to get engaged and bring value themselves. Speakers will present two local models (SEEd, from Schleswig-Holstein region in Germany, and Teenemprende, from Extremadura region, in Spain), along with two wider EU-financed projects which focus on entrepreneurship/social innovation education: on the one hand, the EntrecompEurope project, aimed at the implementation of the Entrecomp framework (European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework – Bacigalupo et al 2016). On the second hand, the “Community Learning for Local Change” project, based on the methodology of Living Labs. Structure: – Overview of the 4 projects – Entrecomp, a reference model of the competences you need to change the world – Sharing and getting involved.

Michael Sani, Play Verto
Andrew Bastawrous, Peek Vision
Andrea Coleman, Riders for Health/Two Wheels for Life
Alexander McLean, Justice Defenders
Lucy Moon, Social Influence
Not Corry, Social Influence
Hayleigh Jade, Social Influencer
Sarah Prince-Robin, Government of France
Josh Babarinde OBE, Social Entrepreneur,

Social entrepreneurs drive innovations that have a positive impact on the lives of others and the planet. They’re driven by a purpose and dedicate their lives to bring about positive change and progress. Decision-makers and elected officials have the power and responsibility to govern and protect us through the creation of laws and policies. Yet in many parts of the world, there is a lack of trust and a huge disconnect between them and the everyday citizens they represent. The digital generations know and live in an interconnected world where access to information is infinite and the ability to share is greater than any generation before them. How can we bring these three worlds together for greater effect? What laws and policies would you like to see featured in the 2021 European action plan that will better serve our ability to realise our best intentions for one another, wider society and the planet?

Goals of this session

  • Raise awareness of social entrepreneurship and the qualities needed to make social impact

  • Explore your recommendations on how to address the challenge this session poses

  • Raise awareness of Catalyst 2030 and the forthcoming Peoples SDG report. 

  • Explore the opportunities that technology and data have to increase transparency and accountability of decision-makers”

Marie Boscher, Policy Officer – Social Economy – DG GROW, European Commission
Sofia Breitholtz, CEO – Reach for Change
Nina Cvar, Researcher – Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana
Xabi Ugarte, Head of Digital Education – Politeknika Txorierri & Member of DLEARN
James Churchill, Board Member – EASPD
Konstantina Leventi, Coordinator of the B-Wise project – EASPD
Zuzana Dutkova, Policy Officer – Social Economy – DG GROW, European Commission

This session will be an integral part of a series of expert Pact for Skills round-tables and workshops to be organised in the run-up to the official joining of the Pact by the Proximity and Social Economy ecosystem in the first half of 2021. Digital skills[1] are critical for jobs and social inclusion and the COVID-19 crisis has further moved digital skills from ‘optional’ to ‘critical’. Digital skills are required for all types of jobs[2] and need to be complemented with transversal ‘soft skills’ such as the ability to communicate effectively in both online and offline mediums.

The session will first aim to identify challenges faced by the Proximity and social economy ecosystem in terms of digital skills, taking into account the large disruptions created by the COVID-19 crisis. Participants will share and provide their experience on concrete upskilling and reskilling activities they have implemented. Their input will cast light in particular on:

·       The reasons of the identification of the target groups;

·       The type of digital skills and training activities they have focused on and the methodology used;

·       Challenges and difficulties met during the implementation of the training activities and how they overcame them;

·       The extent to which and how the COVID-19 has prompted them to adapt their activities or agenda;

·       Potential KPIs for digital skills activities.

Based on these individual experiences, the interactive discussion will then focus on the identification of the challenges faced by the Proximity and Social Economy Ecosystem regarding digital skills and the possible measures to do so measures that can be implemented to address these challenges under the Pact for Skills. Participants will also reflect on how to boost skills investment via the National Recovery and Resilience Plans/Recovery and Resilience Facility and ensure recovery takes place for, by and with Social Economy, for an economy that works for people.

03.00 pm

Panel: Workshop Hosts presenting results / Discussion with EU officials
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit – DG GROW, European Commission
Georgi Dimitrov, Head of Unit – DG Education and Culture, European Commission

03.30 pm

Rap-Up, Conclusion & The End
Rico Montero, Managing Director & Keynote Artist – Heartbeat Edutainment