Although the terms social innovation and social entrepreneurship are new, the phenomenon isn’t. Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia has always had social entrepreneurs, even though they didn’t use the name. These social enterprises intensively attract the attention of government representatives because, through their work, they help to increase equality and social cohesion in Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonian society.
The challenges addressed by social innovation in FYR Macedonia are mostly in regards to lack of education, unemployment and health and social care to tackling down the social and economical challenges and problems.
Social innovation is time and context specific. That means it can mean different things in different context. What might not seem innovative in one country, may be ground breaking in another. The political and cultural background is important to understand. There are also a wide variety of organisations involved in this field, each have different perspectives. So, the purpose of this page is to demonstrate a variety of views on what social innovation means to different kinds of organisations in Macedonia.
The voices from Macedonia:
The Macedonian organisation, PORAKA NOVA, produced a summary of social innovation in the country in 2011, highlighting the role of SMEs in achieving the economic aims of the Government:
“For the most part, social enterprises in Europe are SMEs, and we know that those are the driving force of economies in development, as it is in the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonian economy.
The Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonian Government identified the importance of creating this kind of enterprises to achieve reduction of unemployment and sustainable development of GDP. That’s why, in August 2011, the Committee for entrepreneurship and innovations was established, whose priorities are the improvement of the competitiveness of the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonian economy, as well as improvement of employment and economic activity through development of entrepreneurial spirit, especially by young people. Members of the Committee are the ministers for economy, health, informatics, public administration, education and science, attraction of foreign investors, agriculture and forestry, and also representatives from the business sector and the sciences.”
Read more of this contribution and learn the other ways in which the Macedonian government has been encouraging innovation.
In 2015, Ariola Agolli, Director of Programs for Partners Albania, provided an update on the contribution, showing how social innovation has been recognised as a tool to address environmental issues, as well as those surrounding consumer protection:
“In September 2012, the FYR of Macedonia the Joint Research Centre by the EU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in various scientific areas, with an aim to develop the institutional collaboration in the fields of energy and environment, climate change, health and protection of the consumers—also including the food safety, nanotechnology, biotechnology and natural disasters. The representative of the JRC highlighted the importance of investing in knowledge, innovations, creative potential and people curious for new challenges— not only investing in technology, but also in social innovation."
The contribution continues to highlight the governement's active role in pushing innovation.
"[...] In October 2012 the government adopted the Strategy for Innovation. The strategy aims at initiating the transformation of the country into a knowledge-based economy able to compete on international markets through its skilled labour and innovative companies.
The Government also launched an “Innovation Strategy of the Republic of Macedonia for 2012-2020” and in May 2013 has enacted a Law on Innovation Activity which regulates the function of the Fund for innovation and technological development aimed to provide technical assistance and consulting services for start-up and existing enterprises in order to increase the investment in innovation, as well as financing and co-financing of research and innovative projects"
The full contribution gives more detail on the history of social innovation in Macedonia, up to the Government’s present strategies.