Although this site is primarily focused on Social FinTech, we’re still a big fan of all types of social enterprises — that’s why we’ve decided to post an article about the social enterprise ecosystem in Spain. Whether you’re a curious university student, are in the initial phases of launching a start-up, own a social enterprise that needs investment or are an impact investor, then this article will be of interest to you.
Spain’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem has Rapidly Expanded From all Angles
Spanish business schools have been offering more courses and programs with social entrepreneurship as their main focus. Incubators and accelerators are popping up all over Spain. There are associations and organizations for social enterprises and impact investment. Furthermore, there have been numerous social impact funds being launched by big players in Madrid, such as Impact Fund — Qualitas, Creas, Cuanimen — Beka Finance Group and more.
We’ve compiled a list of Spain’s top accelerators/incubators for social entrepreneurs in Spain. Accelerators offer you access to a new network of collaborators, exposure to investors and expert help on both your financial and social returns. If you’re launching a start-up that has social impact as one of its core attributes, then joining one of these accelerators will give your business the boost it needs.
Accelerators/Incubators for Social Enterprises in Spain
UnLtd was launched in 2002 by seven organizations, they are active in 10 countries and have an extensive network/support system. UnLtd has backed over 16,500 social entrepreneurs worldwide since it was formed, of which UnLtd Spain has supported over 80 Spanish social impact start-ups. They are based in Madrid and their programs are focused in three key areas: sustainable cities, health and agriculture.
Momentum is an accelerator created by BBVA, one of Spain’s top banks. They are active in many countries and have an intense accelerator program where your start-up can get exposure to a vast network. The Momentum accelerator is recognised in Spain’s Venture Capital space, they have a rigid application process so once you’re in they’ll make sure you get the most out of the program!
Endeavour is a worldwide accelerator, it was launched in Chile and Argentina in 1998. Now they have escalated their operations to 24 locations around the world. Over the years Endeavour has shifted their focus to helping Impact Entrepreneurs. They have their own investor network, where they boast of having 1,880 ‘high-impact entrepreneurs’ which their 29 VC and private equity firm members could be interested in.
Social Nest was Spain’s first social enterprise accelerator, it was launched in 2010 in Valencia. Since then they have specialized their programs into a few sectors: «YOUTH, LAUNCH & RAISE». The YOUTH program is for disadvantaged youngsters who are passionate about entrepreneurship, LAUNCH is their accelerator, then their last program, RAISE, consists of advice from mentors and exposure to investors in order to help with raising investment.
Environment & Sustainability – CleanTech Sector
EIT InnoEnergy and EIT Climate KIC are Europe’s leading climate innovation initiatives. They are both supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT). They have created a whole ecosystem for innovation around climate change. From a climate-KIC masters certification which is an add-on course at partnered universities, to their incubator, accelerator and their community of 370+ global partners spanning universities, businesses, cities and NGOs, giving them an ‘unrivalled breadth of knowledge and expertise’. They have supported over 2,000 start-ups, of which 20 entrepreneurs have been honoured in the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list.
TheCircularLab is an accelerator that is specialized in the circular economy. Their mission is to change the one-use culture by helping start-ups create solutions that reduce our overall waste. The program lasts between 3-6 months and the accelerator is located in Logroño, North Spain.
Education – EdtTech Sector
SEK Lab have both an accelerator and an incubator which are specialized in EdTech. They don’t take equity for participation and their accelerator program lasts 6 months. Anyone is eligible to take part in the incubator. The only requirement for the accelerator is that your start-up has to have been running for at least 3 years and be using modern technology to innovate in the education sector.
Associations/Organizations for the Social Enterprise Ecosystem
There are also a number of associations which will give your social enterprise exposure to both potential investors and a new network of collaborators. Examples are: AEF, Social Enterprise.es & Asociacion Startups. Along with these associations for social enterprises, there are also organizations for the impact investment side of things. SpainSIF has been pushing for responsible investments for over 10 years. The organization promote collaboration and cohesion among economic actors between the public, private and third sectors.
Social Impact Funds
Cuanimen Social Impact Fund, FCR PYME is a Social Venture Capital Fund that invests in social and environmental impact projects, and in FinTech companies that foster disruption in the financial sector through technology. The Fund’s size is €60 million.
The fund is focused on investing in social enterprises that demonstrate significant potential to spark social and environmental change, together with stable and sustainable profitability. The fund also searches for exceptional founders and technology companies, with a special focus on FinTech innovations that aim to disrupt the traditional financial sector by significantly improving the market through technological development, efficiency, cost reduction, universal usage and transparency.
So there you have a roundup of Spain’s social enterprise ecosystem; including an outline of the main accelerators/incubators in Spain, along with some tips on what social impact funds – like Cuanimen – are searching for when investing. In the past few years, the increased interest with societal and environmental issues has resulted in this expanding ecosystem for social entrepreneurs.
We expect this trend to keep rising, making it more accessible for social enterprises to make a positive difference.