Impact Hub’s First Ever Virtual Conference
31/10/2018 - Impact Hub

Impact Hub’s first ever Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) virtual conference will take place on November 13th, (10am-1pm CET) & November 14th (10am-4pm CET), titled ‘Reimagining The Future of CEE’.

Ahead of this great milestone, Impact Hub’s Global Partnership Coordinator Anne Kathrin Merkle joins our blog as a guest contributor to enlighten us on what this virtual conference is, and why it’s so sorely needed right now…

Why now?

Do you remember the last time you convened with some colleagues and started dreaming? Together with multiple Impact Hubs and WWF offices we explored two questions that eventually became one dream:

1. What if conferences could happen without time-consuming and CO2 emitting travels? For my work, I personally spend 6 out of 8 hours of my day in video calls – why not take this to the next level?

2. How could the CEE region be empowered to realize their potential? Can we help citizens to imagine a future they would like to work towards?

Together with amazing partners (shout out to WWF & Move.BG) we dreamed of and have now realized a virtual conference focused on Central and Eastern Europe. It’s called: Reimagining the Future.

Our vision: 3 tracks as part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) that aim to sketch a positive vision for Central and Eastern Europe, and empower citizens by showcasing impactful initiatives from and for the region.

Why Central & Eastern Europe?

All three partners feel like there is a need to bring the region – its citizens, its changemakers, its NGOs and its institutions – closer together, and tackle three hindering factors for positive change:

1. The missing goals that actors can jointly work towards

2. The belief that it’s difficult to initiate solutions in the region

3. The lack of collaboration across organizations, sectors and countries

What’s involved?

A simple zoom link will unlock opportunities for participants to network, learn, share and collaborate in the three tracks:

  • Community Lead Change
  • Impact Technology
  • Female Entrepreneurship

In very interactive formats (including Panels, Worldcafe, Workshops, Breakout Conversations and Speed-dating) participants will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with speakers from across the region, and take part in the conversations. The focus will be on Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Czech Republic and Ukraine, but everyone interested in the topics or the region is more than welcome to join the conversation.

You are invited to pick the topic most relevant to you on the DIF page, where you will also find the Eventbrite link for the registration so we can share the necessary information with you. Each track is between 2-3 hours long and will include a variety of speakers (5+ for each track) and different formats. All free of charge – impact first.

What are the 3 tracks?

1. Female Entrepreneurship: Empowering women to start and grow their businesses

The focus of the Female Entrepreneurship track is on joining successful female founders, entrepreneurs and innovators with soon-to-be female entrepreneurs as well as supporters for women-led businesses in the CEE region. We will:

  • Showcase success stories of hardworking and passionate women founders, and hear from them about how to get to where they are now
  • Connect female entrepreneurs and discuss joint pain points and the barriers faced in the region
  • Discuss how technology (#blockchain) can serve women entrepreneurs to increase their impact
  • Introduce different organizations that support female entrepreneurs through knowledge, networking, investment, and even tax advice (why not? We all need to do our taxes)

Finally, we will use our own experience and gained knowledge to draft a vision of what the future of Female Entrepreneurship should look like, and pin down concrete milestones necessary to get there.

If you are a recent or future female founder / entrepreneur, investing in women, the supporter of female entrepreneurs or simply interested in topics such as blockchain, supporting entrepreneurs or feminism, then join us! Men are welcome, too.

2. Community Lead Change: Reshape society from the ground up

Especially in Eastern Europe, rural and urban communities are painfully separated – economically, socially, technologically and culturally. This makes grassroots (community driven) change very unlikely. Furthermore, entrepreneurial initiatives coming from “outside” a community are mostly seen as unwanted interventions that face suspicion and resistance.

Change emerging from and for communities, therefore, is needed in the region.

Communities unite around values, act upon a common understanding of what is important and celebrate diversity and connectivity overcoming prejudices, disciplines and borders.

The Communities Lead Change track will nurture bonds across disciplines, showcase the transformative power of value-based communities, and discuss the role of communities in re-imagining our future. Key topics include:

  • Communities for Truth
  • Communities for Nature
  • Communities of the Future

Join us if you are a professional working in social innovation, a development agency, are an impact investor, an NGO professional, a community leader or simply a caring citizen.

Everyone is welcome!

3. Impact Technology: redefining the potential of technology

Technology impacts the environment, people and society as a whole. The way we use technology determines whether its impact is positive or negative. We invite you to jointly explore how to use technology as a tool for positive impact and how to redesign the way we understand it.

We will learn from inspirational stories that show how technology helps us to deal with various issues in the context of Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. You will hear from a recently shot documentary about the impact of civic technology in CEE and discuss how disaster relief applications from Mexico might support the region in the future.

What are the trends, barriers and future of impact technologies? Jointly, we will discuss and develop a vision of where impact technology will be three years from now, and define milestones that need to be achieved to realize this vision.

Why join the conference?

Let’s see where our dream of a virtual conference will take us. Join us if you want to learn, get inspired and be part of the conversations. Or, simply because you want to see if the concept of a virtual conference can actually work.


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Written by: Anne Kathrin Merkle

Anne is Impact Hub’s Global Partnership Coordinator. Working towards a more collaborative impact within the social sector and beyond, she has volunteered in a Township (SA), worked as a project associate and conference host for the BMW Foundation (Germany & Canada), designed and executed the Talent Project of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (UK) and consulted for various NGOs. Reimagining the Future of CEE works towards the following SDGs: