EoC Incubating International Network: Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs in the spirit of communion
4 mins read
Every year thousands of entrepreneurs from over the world take a shot at starting their businesses. Corresponding to that trend has been the rise of business incubators in the recent years. The Columnist talked to Ms Florencia Locascio, Communication & Training Manager at EoC Incubating International Network (EoC-IIN) to find out more about their project and how it plays the role in building an economy for all.
What is the purpose of EoC Incubating International Network (EoC-IIN)?
EoC-IIN is a global project, in the form of network, the purpose is to incubate new companies with the spirit of communion. The network already has hubs on every continent, offering various services that support different stages of the incubation process with their hallmark of gratuity and reciprocity.
The aim of the network is to build a platform for the exchange of resources, knowledge, and talents. Each hub provides various services to entrepreneurs, depending on their capabilities, for example, providing co-working spaces, mentorship programme, workshops, internship opportunities for young entrepreneurs, etc.
This project was created in the context of the Economy of Communion (EoC): a movement of entrepreneurs, workers, students, researchers, citizens, associations, business parks and projects, united by a vision of the world and the global economy that is oriented towards common good and the integral development of individuals and society. It offers a way of life that values principles like gratuitousness and non-instrumental relationships in the market. Companies that choose to be part of the EoC Network believe in the mission of generating productive and inclusive community, towards those who suffer because of poverty.
EoC-IIN is a collective expression of the typical Economy of Communion cultural imprint: entrepreneurs and professionals who want to live the culture of giving. In this particular case, by contributing their talent and experience to facilitate the growth of a new generation of entrepreneurs with the vocation of building an economy for all, with no one in need.
What led you to set up this incubating network?
From its very beginning, the EoC has been working on a broad educational programme to spread a new economic and entrepreneurial culture, that of a communion, among the younger generation. During the various Summer Schools, we were impressed by the aspirations of many young people who want to form companies, some with advanced plans and studies, others with a vocation but without a clear project plan. It was evident that we have to support and guide them along. But how? It seemed necessary to garner the skills of our entrepreneurs and professionals around the world.
In 2015, we became aware of many initiatives that were going towards this direction were already supported by EoC at the local level. A structure is needed to coordinate and connect these initiatives, and not only that: we found it necessary to take a new step forward together.
In March 2016, after a collective creation process, EoC-IIN was founded at Polo Lionello Bonfanti (Italy) with 80 EoC representatives from 26 countries.
Since then, those who already had experiences in the incubation of companies in EoC had taken a step forward, such as Portugal and Brazil. Other countries have begun to start such business projects with existing resources in their EoC community (human, material, etc.) such as Mexico, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast.
EoC communities (entrepreneurs, students, professionals …) of other countries have studied what they could offer at the local level; and have planned their own project with their strategy.
In summary, 11 countries have designed their projects to become hubs of the network: Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Uganda, Burundi, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, USA. Other countries are still studying their strategy.
How does EoC-IIN work? How is this different from numerous business incubators all around the world?
There are already many Incubators in the world, the structures of systematic support to business ideas, Our strength, the real capital of this initiative, is the Economy of Communion: a real community with a strong cultural stamp, which deals with promoting people and companies.
We want to support not only the strongest ideas and people but also those who have been excluded by re-giving them a place in the economy and helping them to become wealth generators also.
What is the plan for EoC in 2017?
The project will be helping existing hubs to be stronger and able to contribute to the forming of new hubs. A bridge that will be reinforcing the network is the platform that we are developing. It will make the exchange of resources easier and to support incubation.
We want to develop the local networks and partnerships with other organisations in the social and civil economy.
In particular, next year, we will have an international training for the hubs. The hubs that already started will share methodologies and experiences with the newest. We will have a specific session of incubation and training for the hubs in the African continent.
We are paying careful attention to the real impact of our actions, in order to take the right steps to achieve the objective.
Thank you very much for joining us.
Find out more about EoC IIN.
This interview was conducted for The Columnist, a newsletter by Consulus that offers ideas on business, design and world affairs. The views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Consulus.
Consulus is a member of the Economy of Communion Network.