From the 1st of June 2017 the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta is cooperating with 9 Central European partner organizations for a 3 year period to implement a transnational project aimed at developing and testing tools and methods for helping social enterprises. The project is funded by the European Union's Interreg Central Europe program with the amount of €1 952 166.
SENTINEL, („watchman”) 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 Central European 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.