The Interreg Social Impact Vouchers (SIV) project has started in March 2019. The main objective is introducing a voucher-based instrument for tackling social challenges with the use of private capital. Specifically, how social enterprises can solve challenges of long-term unemployment with the help of private capital.
In 2019, 8 Central European organizations developed a strategic approach for the usage of vouchers as an instrument for labor market integration. There are 5 different options of voucher systems.
Private or public capital powers Social Impact Fund, who later on operates with job seeker on one hand (receives non-monetary voucher) and small-medium enterprises on the other (receives funding for 3-month salary). The match-making service is done via an online platform.
In option 2, SME instead of job seeker receives the voucher via different mechanisms - e.g. by completing a program in the nearest accelerator. With this voucher, they can select employees on their own. Social Impact Fund is not involved in the process at all.
This is the only option where private donors get involved directly in the matching process by appointing relevant job seekers. As with option 1, the job seeker receives a non-monetary voucher while SME receives funds for a 3-month salary.
In option 4, a recruiting agency gets involved in the matching process, also receiving the non-monetary voucher. SME still gets a refunded salary for 3 months but needs to cover the agency’s fee.
Option 5 promotes self-employment, where the job seeker receives the voucher and his salary of 3 months refunded simultaneously.
As you’ve probably noticed, each option includes “coaching”. It’s going to base on reasons for long-term unemployment, and challenges disadvantaged groups are facing. Those underlying reasons will be consolidated in a coaching concept, drawing on behavioral economics.
The coaching method and platform will differ between partner countries - it’ll base on employers’ requirements.
Which option to choose?
Each project partner will decide on the model based on the ease and efficiency of implementation.
From modeling and strategy to action plan
Now that the model is set, the only thing left is realization. We’ve set activities and resources beyond the period of 2022. Based on the plan, a voucher system will be installed in each partner country.
The initial, pilot project will serve as the basis for gathering information on the effectiveness of theoretical models and plans. We’ll keep an eye on our pilot studies and learn as much from them as possible. When introducing a new system like this one, it’s important to keep track of KPIs and note major signals from the market.
Where to next?
The next partnership meeting is planned in March, where we’ll further discuss pilots and coaching systems. We’ll also pan out any next steps we’ll do in 2020 - from creating a Social Impact Fund to executing tasks stacked in the pipeline.