Social innovation festival was held on 17th June in the city of Prešov. The festival was one of the two closing events of the successful pilot project „People to People“ implemented by British Council in Czech Republic, Hungary and in Slovakia. The project was financed by UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Representatives of relevant organizations discussed the biggest challenges, opportunities and trends in the field of Social Innovation, Community Arts and Core Skills.

What is a role of the state during implementation of social innovations and what support does the state offer to social enterprises? This is what Arnold Ponesz (EPIC n.o) spoke about during the panel discussion. Martin Krištof (Truc sphérique o. z) looked at possibilities of art and creativity as an adequate tool for increasing local community cohesion. He spoke about perception of innovations in context of solving social issues. Martin Šustek emphasized knowledge of objective factors and impact of hoax when creating an opinion. A critical thinking is very important skill nowadays and it is needed for living in 21st century. Different view into the topics was provided by Lindsey Hall from Great Britain. Using comparisons, Lindsey clarified operating of social enterprises in Great Britain and Slovakia. Practical examples and interconnection of social enterprises which help to develop local community were presented by People to People participants. In Prešov, you can use city bikes for free thanks to a project called „Bikes for good deed“. It lets you to use the city bikes and you just pay the ride by helping some of the local organizations.

The Um Um Festival is trying to eliminate the radicalization of opinions and deepening of negative relations within ethnic groups. Community festival of modern arts tries to connect Slovaks with other minority groups and contribute towards artistic reflection of various cultures in the region and support their intercultural dialogue. During the festival you can enjoy dance, music or theatre, where audience turns into actors. Interactive workshops were also a good supplement to the festival programme. The participants had the opportunity to get more specific information about successful social enterprises in Great Britain. Lindsey presented rich thoughts on how to improve running of social business in Slovakia and at the same time she gave valuable advices to participants who are currently in process of shaping their active social enterprises. The main message which Lindsey gave us was the power of strong cooperation and partnership. The cooperation between organizations can help them to gain respect from the state and also from private companies. They can simply achieve better results from their social activities if they cooperate together.

At the end of the festival the participants had an opportunity to dicuss the topics together and found their possible future partners and co-workers. We in EPIC believe in this strong thought and we are looking forward to further cooperation and future partnerships.