empowering people. Network
Network for social entrepreneurs in development collaboration
The Siemens Stiftung’s empowering people. Network (epN) connects around 80 organizations from around the world: start-ups and smaller businesses using straightforward technology to improve basic services for people in developing regions while creating employment and economic prosperity. We make their innovations available for as many people as possible while providing support in organizational development, growth, and financial independence.
Technology helps – this idea led to the creation of the empowering people. Network in 2013. In developing and emerging countries in particular, appropriate technological solutions adapted to existing conditions have the potential for positive social, environmental, and economic change. We also know that good ideas alone are not enough. Only a well-established organization can turn an idea into long-term change. With the empowering people. Network, we support inventors and entrepreneurs in using their social enterprises and technology to provide people in developing regions with products and services that last.
What makes the empowering people. Network special?
- All solutions have gone through quality control: The technologies and the entrepreneurial approach of all member organizations have been evaluated by an independent expert committee based on defined criteria and categorized as promising.
- The network emphasizes each organization’s development potential: A number of continuing education opportunities are available within the Network, in addition to access to cooperation partners and financing options.
- Collaboration encourages knowledge and technology transfer across continents and sectors: Members come from nearly 100 countries and are active in very diverse sectors of development cooperation.
The cooperation of engaged partners boosts the impact of an international network. For years, Siemens Stiftung has worked with renowned, internationally-active organizations such as MIT D-Lab, adelphi, Intellecap or Engineering for Change on the empowering people. Network, collaborating on opportunities for social entrepreneurs and sharing knowledge, networks, and communication channels.
How effective is the empowering people. Network? Can the network really help organizations use their technology to improve basic services in developing and emerging countries? In 2017, the Center for Evaluation (CEval GmbH) conducted an independent assessment of the network. In addition to online surveys and detailed case studies, CEval conducted expert interviews and focus group discussions with network stakeholders, representatives from similar networks, and people from member organizations. The analysis adhered to the OCED’s DAC criteria.
Key findings of the CEval evaluation
The results: success in the network is dependent on people – the founders and managers at the member organizations, their teams, and those at the Siemens Stiftung running the network. Those surveyed noted that personal, long-term support as well as the opportunities for exchange and cooperation among the innovators were particularly effective. Offline training options received high marks, which is why they will be intensified in the future. Themes requested by members will be integrated as far as possible.
The Solutions Database shows the social entrepreneurial innovations of all members of the empowering people. Network. The eight categories cover crucial areas of basic supply. They are linked to the Sustainable Development Goals and focus on areas that are relevant for reduction of poverty and improvement of life on a sustainable basis.