INSPIRE is the Social Innovation Centre at UBT. It is a fully integrated knowledge Centre of the UBT Kosovo RIED Institute.
INSPIRE stands for INnovations for Social Problems Inspired by Research Ecosystems.
INSPIRE was founded in October 2017 as a Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship that aims to address unmet social needs with innovations developed through inspired research activities.
INPIRE aims to create shared value for communities by merging academic knowledge and know-how with unparalleled capacities in skills based training, to enhance the problem-solving process by fostering inspired innovations through academic research and industry/ civil society participation. As a facility, it utilizes leading approaches to children, youth and adolescent development whilst providing education in creative thinking, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. for undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University for Business and Technology and other academic institutions in Kosovo and surrounding Balkan states.
The INSPIRE Social Innovation Model fuses into a single offering, two existing approaches to social innovation – a skill-based practice and a research based educational approach provided through academic curriculum.
The Centre promotes a transdisciplinary and multicultural educational approach with global experiential learning opportunities. It is uniquely the first and currently only Social Innovation Centre with this emphasis in western Balkans.
Our main message is that INnovations for Social Problems also requires Inspired Research Ecosystems, hence I-N-S-P-I-R-E.
INSPIRE offers entrepreneurial education, researched-based approach to social challenges, and physical and virtual incubation services to entrepreneurs and SMEs to help them initiate their business ideas and survive and grow during the start-up period, when they are most vulnerable.
Entrepreneurial education – UBT, founding partner of INSPIRE, offers accredited courses in entrepreneurship and innovation, seeking to equip students and entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to encourage entrepreneurial success.
Research-based approach to social innovation – INSPIRE offers research based approach provided through academic curriculum by UBT. It seeks to encourage students and young entrepreneurs to innovate through greater focus on long-term research.
Infrastructure – INSPIRE offers a complete infrastructure needed to develop new solutions to social needs, to perform prototyping and testing solutions, scale and perform business activities. Infrastructure includes: office space, meeting rooms, electricity, phone, internet, and laboratories and equipment that can be very helpful, especially to a technology based social ventures.
Business services – INSPIRE provides access to administrative and communication services, including services such as Internet, telecommunications, photocopy, binding, reception, mail, document receipt and dispatch, and secretarial assistance. These support services help clients to concentrate on their core business rather than on the support infrastructure.
Furthermore, the startup social ventures do not need to make initial investments in expensive office equipment or front office personnel that can be provided by the center. Incubator distributes a full tool kit of relevant business information to their clients. This information includes market data and market updates, forthcoming trade events, regulatory issues and administrative procedures, details of access to finance, both public (subsidies and government funds) and private (investors such as Business Angels), and access to other business support partners in the area.
Networking – INSPIRE facilitates advisory relationships between the start-up social venture management team and an experienced individual from the center management team or an external expert from the relevant sector or industry (the mentor). The center offers a platform of both domestic and international mentors that would benefit young social entrepreneurs through coaching, exchange of ideas, psychological supports, partnerships, and business relations.
Financing – INSPIRE offers direct financing through ideation, prototyping and testis, and establishment of the social venture. Further, it supports social ventures in accessing various sources of finance. Depending on the growth stage of the social ventures, the center may link its beneficiaries with government grant schemes, banks, or venture capitalists.
INSPIRE Women – Women Entrepreneurs Initiative.
The INSPIRE Women initiative is designed to equip local women business owners with the tools needed to support their business aspirations, while minimizing some of the challenges and roadblocks unique to them as women. It’s about creating a safe, collaborative and supportive work space.