CEO of the Social Investments Fund - Mindaugas Danys has been recruited by the ESFA (Agency for the ESF) in Lithuania to support their activities in relation to improving conditions and framework for social innovation in ESF interest areas.

On September 23-24 the opening event of the PEnCIL project for the establishment of a Center of Excellence for Social Innovation, supported by the European Commission, took place in Brussels.

The European Social Fund Agency, together with its international partners, the ESF Managing Authorities from Belgium, the Czech Republic and Finland, met to discuss the possibilities for promoting and funding social innovation in 2021-2027. During the EU investment period, to share the best practices accumulated in their countries, to identify potential project challenges and needs of stakeholders, to refine the desired results and first steps.

"Finally, almost all EU member states will have centers of excellence for social innovation responsible for supporting and nurturing social innovation in their country," said Risto Raivio, a senior expert at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment.

Representatives of the partners agreed that the project would start with a comprehensive analysis of the social innovation ecosystem, which would form the basis of the overall strategy and action plan of the Center for Social Innovation Competences. It is hoped that the recommendations developed during the analysis will help shape public policy impact measures to promote social innovation. Among other things, the partners plan the creation and development of social innovation thematic networks, the sharing of good practices on successful models and methods with other centers of excellence in 24 EU countries, the launch of pilot projects, and awareness-raising activities.

The European Social Fund Agency has been delegated by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania to represent Lithuania in this project and become a national center of social innovation competencies. The ESF Managing Authority expects the European Social Fund Agency to support innovative projects, provide advice, knowledge and practical experience to ESF + funding opportunities for social innovation, and organize training, discussions and networking at both national and European level.

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