Contest for projects on inclusion for disabled people: deadline 21 June

All-Russian competition programme “Start differently” for organisations working in the field of inclusion. Application deadline: June 21


Rosbank in partnership with Impact Hub Moscow has begun accepting applications for participating in the all-Russian competition “Start Differently”, aimed at companies and organisations working in inclusion.

Start Differently is seeking to help socially oriented enterprises and NGOS helping to improve the lives of people with disabilities, to create financially viable business models and new opportunities for growth and scaling up.

At the end of the competition, 16 specially chosen projects will take part in an intensive development programme. When selecting the finalists, the project’s social impact, its effectiveness, innovation of the proposed solution, the team’s potential and the likelihood of financial stability are all taken into account.

Socially oriented businesses and NGOs, who have been working for at least six months and are a legally registered entity, are invited to take part. They must have active business projects that seek to support people with disabilities, which includes providing assistance in finding work, organising social activities and opportunities for further education.

The application window closes on 21 June, and you can apply on their website.

The training programme for the best projects will start in the autumn with an online conference and concludes with a series of pitches to a group of experts. In between there will be 12 weeks of online training covering eight themes: business’s contribution to society, finance, product development, sales, marketing, teamwork, public speaking and digital technology. The last three modules focus on new developments in 2020. Every project will have a successful entrepreneur as a mentor, who will help each finalist to set and achieve particular goals. New this year, there will now be a psychologist providing mental support during the development programme.

In 2020, a further set of projects focusing on “Digital and technological tools helping those with disabilities” will be introduced. As well as a basic training programme, they will include Procut/Market Fit and Unit Economy modules, which focus on financial stability, product development and marketing.

Every project that reaches the final will receive an individual prize that will have a specialised beneficial effect on that project’s development: travel grants for educational trips, opportunities to hold strategy meeting with experts at large companies, themed training sessions and mentoring from business consultants are all possibilities.

The programme is now entering its third year. Since it was founded, the organisers have received 306 applications from 70 different regions in Russia. Since 2018, 24 social organisations that provide work for people with disabilities, as well as creating products, providing services and social opportunities, have participated in the programme. 17 of them have become entirely self-sufficient as a result.


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