Ankara Development Agency hosted the project meeting of European Support for Social Innovation (ESSI) on May 10-11, 2018 with the participation of the project representatives. The project, financed by Horizon 2020-Innosup, is being implemented under the coordination of Ervet Development Agency from Italy with Ankara Development Agency from Turkey, KAINUUN ETU from Finland and IVACE from Spain.

With the ESSI project, the partners aim at proposing a model for the support for social innovation by regional development agencies across the Europe and it is being implemented under the Peer Learning of Innovation Agencies program of Horizon 2020 between the dates October 2017 and October 2018.

For that purpose, there have been various meetings and workshops so far to get to know better the social innovation ecosystems of the regions and contribute to the design option policy paper, which will be the final output of the project. This policy paper will present the current state of play in terms of social innovation and social entrepreneurship of these four different regions with a comparative perspective and propose various policies and tools to be implemented by the local administrations.

To realize these objectives, the meeting in Ankara started with a workshop with young entrepreneurs who have successfully integrated social innovation to their enterprises. These best practices are located in the Technopark of Middle East Technical University, which is one of the most prominent technology development zones of Turkey.

In the second day of the organization, a meeting was held to discuss the social finance eco-system in Turkey. Merve Kavas from Social Innovation Center of TED University gave a presentation on social innovation actors of Ankara and how they provide business support to social entrepreneurs. Emin Okutan co-founder of Viveka, on the other hand, explained different kinds of social enterprises and finance models in Turkey. Necib Afşarata and M. Murat Özçelebi, experts of Ministry of EU Affairs, talked about the perception of Ministry to social finance and how they support the eco-system in Turkey with the use of IPA funds as well as their support for participation of Turkish stakeholders to the EaSI programme of EU. Lastly, Gülsen Kaya from Social Sciences University of Ankara introduced their new project of Socio-city of Ankara that will bring together technology enterprises that aim to create social value together in a technology development zone.