The ceremony of the first European Award for Social Entrepreneurship and Disability co-funded by FUNDACION ONCE took place in Strasbourg

Fundación ONCE, within the framework of the European CSR-D Network, co-funded by the European Social Fund, has announced the first European Award for Social Entrepreneurship and Disability: Promoting Social Investment, with the purpose of giving public recognition to all those initiatives of social entrepreneurship that include the field of disability in their targets.

The prize was awarded during the event “Social Entrepreneurs: Have Your Say!” (January 16-17), organised in Strasbourg by the European Commission.

Gregor Demblin, an Austrian entrepreneur with a disability, has been proclaimed winner of mentioned Award with his project “Career Moves”. This winning project approaches the challenge of unemployment for people with disabilities through an Internet platform that connects people who are looking for a job with job offers. The initiative is supported by the Austrian Ministry of Employment, as well as by the online job searching platform Careesma.

On the other hand, the Jury distinguished Raul Aguayo-Krauthausen, social entrepreneur from Germany, highly commending his project “Wheelmap Education Program”. This project consists of an online programme for children and teenagers with the aim of raising their awareness about accessibility of public spaces for people using a wheelchair.

People with disabilities represent currently 16% of all European citizens. They are also a source of talent and consumption, providing society in general and the world of labour in particular, with new opportunities for development and a diversity of points of view about the social challenges brought up by modern times. Social innovation and entrepreneurship are key concepts, and the figure of the social entrepreneur is becoming more and more relevant in the creation of a more cohesive and inclusive society.

“The aim of this award is to contribute to giving people with disabilities a leading role in the new European model of sustainable economic growth, as defined and promoted by the European Commission through initiatives such as the Social Business Initiative or the Europe 2020 Strategy. People with disabilities must play an active role in the creation of this new model in which social investment must go hand in hand with cost-effectiveness”, explains Alberto Durán, Fundación ONCE Executive Vice-president.

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