How can small NGOs benefit from Interreg?
How to pre-finance project costs for half a year or even an entire year? How to cope with the obligatory own contribution? How to survive the complicated reporting system, often even in a foreign language? Especially for smaller NGOs and similar initiatives with limited financial means, these are obstacles that scare them away from funding programmes like Interreg. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The truth is that for small and micro organisations, Interreg is certainly not a full substitute for the resources of foundations, local funding or donors. Nevertheless, the programme can make a valuable contribution to their own development and (international) networking. How does this work?
A good example is SEMPRE Accelerators: at the core of SEMPRE Accelerators are small social projects developed through co-creation between users and social service providers. These include, for example, a coffee shop in Latvia that is run as a social enterprise, or a newspaper project by refugees in Northern Germany. SEMPRE Accelerators supports these initiatives in building stable organisational structures and developing long-term financial perspectives. What sounds simple at first is actually a challenge (and an opportunity for empowerment and growth). After all, these are initiatives that are not imposed from above, but are built up by social service providers with users in joint responsibility.
Formally, the coffee shop, the Newspaper project, and all the other social initiatives are not involved as project partners in SEMPRE Accelerators, but are integrated through the network of bigger organisations from their regions. These are, for example, educational institutions or welfare organisations with whom they have a trusting cooperation. These bigger institutions act as a bridge between the funding programme on the one side and the smaller initiative on the other. While there are no direct payments to the initiatives, being attached to a project partner from their region means that they benefit in terms of staff capacities, know-how and unique international networking opportunities – like the Latvian group from the StopOver Coffe Shop in the video above.
Are you looking for a consultation on funding or internationalisation for your organisation? We look forward to hearing from you!