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NESsT incubators

NESsT supports social enterprises at all stages of development and operates in 10 countries around the world, including Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. It provides financial support, alongside training and mentoring services, for social enterprises at pre-start-up and start-up stages, as well as on-going support, including for expansion.

NESsT was founded in 1997 as a non-profit organisation in order to promote social entrepreneurship. It has developed a multi-step 'portfolio process' where each step builds upon the previous one, and progression is based on the achievement of certain goals. The portfolio process covers planning, incubation and scaling up. Through competitions, NESsT identifies potential social enterprises and provides support, including training and mentoring for around 9 to 12 months in which the organisation or individual can develop their business idea. Following this is a 2-4 year incubation phase which provides financial support (through grants and/or loans) and access to a Business Advisory Network. At the same time, appropriate metrics are developed which enable the social enterprise to measure its impact – both financially and socially.

The process is rigorous and focuses on developing successful social enterprises. In the 2009-2010 Social Enterprise Competitions, 50 applicants received initial training, of which 22 went onto complete business plans and 11 moved into the incubation phase. The 2010 impact report following all NESsT social enterprises noted that the enterprises, on average, had increased their income by 39%, employed 24 people permanently, and, where the focus was on jobs, had increased their employment by 23%.


Source: OECD Policy Brief on Social Entrepreneurship, May 2013: