Fighting unemployment and creating new jobs are main concerns of the Austrian federal government. In this context, the reintegration of long-term unemployed persons into the labour market requires special efforts. Social businesses constitute a new approach to potential solutions and options: social businesses are organisations aiming at positive impact on society whilst at the same time generating revenues on the market. Exemplary projects such as "gabarage" (social integration in a design workshop), "Vollpension" (an intergenerational café), "Career Moves" (a job platform for people with disabilities) or "compuritas" (a socio-environmental computer company) show the great potential in Austria's social business sector.
The new programme "aws Social Business Call" marks the first time that the Ministry for Social Affairs, the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development and Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws), the state funding bank, finance the projects of promising Austrian social entrepreneurs. The focus is on supporting and developing existing enterprises and start-ups which seek to meet social and environmental challenges with an entrepreneurial approach.
Call started on 1 September
The "aws Social Business Call" started on 01 September 2016 and ended on 01 December 2016. The aws funding bank supports social businesses with a non-refundable grant of up to EUR 100,000.00. The total volume of funding available under this initiative is three million euro, provided in two call tranches by the Ministry for Social Affairs and the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development.
The tranche provided by the Ministry for Social Affairs supports social businesses which directly and/or indirectly contribute to the return of long-term unemployed persons to the labour market and develop instruments for upskilling, qualification and education/training. The tranche funded by the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development addresses start-ups developing and offering innovative products and services in other defined areas.
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