INCO is a global organization that is building in 50 countries a new economy that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. INCO invests and supports innovative companies that are the future leaders of the economy. INCO provides training and support to those who wish to work in this new economy.
Social Tides is an initiative powered by INCO with support from google.org. Social Tides incubation and acceleration programs aim to empower social entrepreneurs across European countries. The programs are designed to support the growth of local ecosystems as well as to foster the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and best practices among social entrepreneurs.
The new cohort, called "Grow AI", is an acceleration program designed to empower social entrepreneurs, by teaching them how to make the most of AI and Machine Learning technologies to scale their solutions.
We found out more details about the Grow AI program, built for social enterprises and impact organizations using (or planning to use) AI and machine learning for good, in an exclusive interview for Green Start-Up.ro.
"The Grow AI Accelerator program, powered by Social Tides and with support from Google.org is aimed at social enterprises and impact organizations with a technological solution, in ideation or development stage, leveraging AI and Machine Learning technologies", officials at Social Tides told us.
Social Tides is a European incubator aiming to address sustainability challenges by fostering the social economy ecosystem, creating positive social and environmental impact and empowering entrepreneurs that share a vision for a sustainable future.
Thus, through the power of artificial intelligence, social entrepreneurs and organizations can innovate further and offer a new suite of solutions to the social economy sector. Rowan Barnett of Google.org, Director of Google.org, Europe, Middle East & Africa at Google, said that "AI is presenting new and exciting opportunities for social entrepreneurs and changemakers to address pressing social and environmental challenges."
"Through our support of INCO and their Social Tides initiative, we want to empower entrepreneurs from underserved backgrounds to develop transformative AI solutions, by providing the technical expertise to help them best apply this technology, and the capital they need to build and scale their social enterprise", he added.
Amalia Spyratou, Director of INCO Academy, mentions that "at Social Tides Grow AI, our unwavering commitment lies in supporting entrepreneurs who aim to harness the power of AI to contribute to a better world. We eagerly anticipate the unveiling of innovative solutions that will propel us closer to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals."
Social entrepreneurs and organizations who wish to apply should know that Social Tides is committed to providing a 6-month program that equips participants with:
- Training & Mentorship:Best in class mentoring and technical support from AI experts, as well as training on how to develop AI responsibly.
- Funding Support: Graduates of the program will access funding of up to $250,000 USD, equity-free, to help propel their initiatives.
- Networking Opportunities: Participants will have access to a wide-reaching European social impact ecosystem, facilitating valuable connections.
Social Tides welcomes applications from social enterprises and impact organizations, based in Sweden, Italy, UK, Spain, Ukraine, Poland, Czechia, Romania and Lithuania, demonstrating traction. The application deadline is 11:59 pm (CET) on January 31st, 2024. Grant recipients will be announced in late February.
Applicants need to have a registered entity in one the focus countries of the program mentioned above. The entity needs to be a social enterprise (ex lege or de facto), adhering to the social enterprises principle of redistributing the majority of profits.
Social entrepreneurs, one of the pillars of the European economy
The social economy has the potential to play a crucial role in a country's overall economy by contributing to social welfare, job creation, and addressing societal challenges, Social Tides officials believe, fostering a more inclusive and equitable economic landscape. In turn, this can help Europe's economy altogether, which is why is important that its countries support social innovators and organizations.
European social enterprises who wish to participate in the accelerator will receive the support of Social Tides even after the 6-month program will be over. As per the organization, they will "benefit from the accelerator by gaining specialized training and support, access to a grant up to 250.000 USD, mentorship, community and visibility, to scale their impact and enhance their AI-driven solutions.
After the program ends, contacts with the Social Tides team will be maintained and community building activities are provided to ensure the alumni sustained impact and growth."
Successful AI-powered social solutions
Social Tides helped many organizations over the years discover the potential of AI and Machine Learning and how implementing them can leverage the existing solutions.
One of these organizations is GROWII, an AI-powered B2B SaaS that take care of the employee health and wellbeing by measuring in real time any behavior pattern in a daily basis, as well predicting any probable problem and analyzing why is that going to happen so that companies can get ahead and sort it out.
According to Social Tides, GROWII has reached 45.000 employees so far, and their services led to an increase of satisfaction on the workplace of 23% on average. By 2024, they aim to impact 1 million direct employees.
Through further developing the technology, the team aims to transform qualitative data into quantitative information and scale the impact generated.
Clera.One is another social enterprise that developed a cutting- edge automated water recycling system for laundry Rooms based on circular economy principles.
Advocating against using drinkable water for each washing cycle of laundry, their mission is an environmentally sustainable net-zero laundry.
By drastically reducing the use of drinkable water to wash our clothes, company officials say, Clera.One will generate environmental impact by decreasing the microplastic pollution and radically lower the carbon footprint per laundry. This can further contribute to saving marine ecosystems, helping to provide microplastic free drinking water in future and improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse.
Burnout bye bye is another social solution developed by Darja Hvala, which supports women empowerment after burnout and redefine their purpose and self-worth. The team leads women to recovering and re-boarding into healthier relationship with themselves and their work. The founder herself experienced burn out while being an HR Development Manager in a corporate environment and turned the unpleasant experience into her passion and her project.
Ultimately, Social Tides officials encourage social innovators to seize opportunities like the Grow AI Accelerator to access specialized resources, mentorship, and networks helpful to accelerate the development of their entrepreneurial journey together with a community of fellow change makers.
"The European Social Economy can significantly contribute to the continent's overall economic landscape by fostering social inclusion, job creation, and sustainable development, addressing societal challenges while promoting economic resilience", they added.
Through its emphasis on people-centric initiatives, the social economy enriches the fabric of the European economy by prioritizing social and environmental impact alongside economic sustainability.
With over €2.9 million grant funding distributed to 200+ social enterprises and entrepreneurs, Social Tides is on a mission to support Europe's social innovation ecosystem.