GoFundEd is one of ten finalists for EUSIC 2018. Here, their co-founder, Liliya Borovets tells us more about why their project is so important and about their experience of the European Social Innovation Competition so far.
Name: Liliya Borovets
Twitter Handle: @liliya_ts
What is the inspiration for your project, and how do you think it will help to empower young people in a changing economy?
Imagine you are 12 years old and are keen to make the world around you a better place. You are passionate about making your school eco-friendly and together with your friend; you come up with an idea to recycle biowaste at your school, but you don’t have the knowledge and skills required to make it a reality. This is where GoFundEd comes in! GoFundEd is a crowdfunding platform where you can promote your idea, get donors to support it and secure a mentor to guide you through practicalities such as building a team, engaging your community and calculating your budget. Nikita, a teenager from Kyiv, actually started this initiative through GoFundEd, and has now spread it across over 200 Ukrainian schools. Nikita told us this experience changed his entire perception of learning, as he now understands how he can help his community to thrive. He now dreams bigger, and has the knowledge and experience to move his ideas forward.
The vision of GoFundEd is to have thousands of stories like Nikita’s. Stories of young people who dream big and are empowered to act locally to build their community.
What have you enjoyed most about your experience with the European Social Innovation Competition and how will you apply that learning to your project moving forward?
I think joining a network of people who share similar interests was the most important and impactful element of the competition for me. It was great to realize that despite the fact we are coming from different parts of Europe, we share similar hopes and fears, and face similar challenges. The European Social Innovation Competition has been a great opportunity to discuss with other social innovators how we might unite our efforts to achieve even greater impact!
How do you see social innovation in Europe progressing over the next 10 years and what role do you see for yourself in that?
I believe people are increasingly aware of social innovation and eager to work in the field. Initiatives such as the European Social Innovation Competition have been very helpful in spreading awareness. However, in Ukraine social innovators still face a challenge in being understood. We are often bringing new approaches to the existing status quo and having to create a fresh vocabulary to explain ourselves. In addition to this, social innovators are often substituting services previously provided by governmental institutions, this leads to another challenge – integrate into the existing system or adapt to become financially stable. Moving forward in the next 10 years, we need to focus on issues such as these, so that the whole social innovation ecosystem can develop.
The European Social Innovation Competition, launched in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, is a challenge prize run by the European Commission, now in its sixth year. The competition is open to applicants from EU member states and countries associated to Horizon 2020. The competition is delivered by a consortium of partners including Nesta, Kennisland, Ashoka, ENoLL and Scholz & Friends.