I-SEED: Innovations – Social Entrepreneurship and Education is a partnership project by the British Council and Chevron. It is been implemented on an annual basis since 2013.
The aim of the project is to use the experience of the UK and the experience accumulated by the British Council internationally to equip a core group of social entrepreneurship pioneers with the skills, knowledge and support network (local and international) they need to create sustainable solutions to social problems faced by their communities using the social entrepreneurship model.
The participants of the project are young, socially engaged Kazakhstanis (aged 18-29) who are inspired to create positive change in their communities.
The project also helps young people to gain more confidence, develop their soft skills and become more competitive in the job market.
Within the I-SEED project, participants take part in interactive training focusing on:
- Setting up and running social enterprises
- Fundraising and raising investment
- Business planning
- Life skills (leadership, teamwork, effective communication)
- Presentation skills and pitching
As well as a training programme, the I-SEED course includes workshops and informal meetings with well-established Kazakhstani social entrepreneurs, business people and community leaders who share their experience with project participants. The speakers share the secrets of their success and provide inspirational examples for young people keen to start up their own social enterprise or business. Participants also get a chance to visit established social enterprises and participate in other capacity building and networking events.
Participants also develop and implement their own social projects, working in small groups. This gives them the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve received in practice and further develop their skills.
Since 2013, around 1000 young people from Astana, Almaty, Yereimentau (Akmola oblast), Taldykorgan and Tekeli (Almaty oblast) have taken part in the project. Between them, they have implemented 36 social initiatives for more than 850 beneficiaries and involved around 700 volunteers in their projects. Among other themes, participants’ projects have focussed on supporting elderly people and low income families, helping children develop life skills, supporting hospices, raising awareness of ecological problems among young people, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and supporting the integration of disabled children and young adults into society. In 2016 the I-SEED participants implement another 10 social projects in their communities.
To see the I-SEED project photos, please follow this link.