The partnership of SENTINEL gathered at the headquarters of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta in Budapest to discuss the status and the next steps of the project and (maybe most importantly) to get to know each other. Everybody was excited and a little bit anxious about the project launch. The meals were made and served by one of HCSOM’s participating social enterprises.
Although the founders and executives of social enterprises are ready to take the risk, they often lack managerial and professional skills, therefore one of the important aims of the project is the improvement of managerial competences and entrepreneurial mind-sets. SENTINEL pays particular attention to support the participants with new operating models and skill development. In addition, SENTINEL undertakes to link and promote communication between the project's social enterprises.
SENTINEL, is a transnational project, and already has a lot to tell in its name, about what the project staff will do in the next 3 years. Demographic changes have started in recent years (shrinking population, migration, brain-drain), increasing social segregation and disintegration, especially in rural areas, represent serious economic challenges for the countries of the Central European region. In these regions social enterprises, if they are helped by a supportive environment, can be real drivers of social inclusion and work integration.
While many of the emerging or operating social enterprises in these areas need longer incubation and specialized assistance, existing support structures seldom reach the most deprived territories and do not take into consideration local needs, e.g. lack of human resources, skills and isolation of these places. Sentinel can help here, first of all, as a guardian or a mentor to encourage these social enterprises, which in many Hungarian disadvantaged regions provide almost the only job opportunity for local people.
The main goal of the project is to reduce regional inequalities in the participating countries and to strengthen social enterprises, to be able to play a prominent role in their local economy.