Between March 18th and March 20th, final conference of pilot project People to People Slovakia – social innovation strand named „Ideas Lab“ took place in Banska Bystrica. It brought together experts on social economy, NGOs, representatives of state and local administration, academics, students, entrepreneurs and other people interested in the topic of social innovation. Apart from practical aspects of starting and running a social enterprise, among the most important topics were community development, volunteerism, education and environmental protection.

First day consisted of an introduction into the topic, presentation of results of Community Mapping, presentation of another project focusing on social entrepreneurship in Gemer region and of a panel discussion. The panel was composed of an expert from Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic, an academic expert from University of Economics in Bratislava, an entrepreneurship consultant and NGO employee, a mayor and social entrepreneur and a social entrepreneurship expert and consultant. The panel discussed opportunities and challenges for social entrepreneurship and social innovation in the two regions and they shared their recommendations for potential future social innovators.

The second day consisted of group discussions and workshops. First part was organised as an „open space conference“ where participants selected topics that were the most interesting for them, divided freely into groups and tried to come up with ideas as part of those group discussions. Afterwards, all participants sat together to listen to other groups’ ideas and results. In the afternoon, four workshops on two topics were organized in parallel so that each participant had a chance to participate in both topics. The first workshop focused on social innovation as a tool for community development and the other topic was good practice transfer from UK to Slovakia.

On the third day, leaders and participants of workshops shared the main outcomes and asked additional questions. Two more presentations were delivered, one on People to People Central Europe project by British Council Slovakia and the other on financing of social enterprises and a new tool developed for education of social innovators.