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Bendruomenių kaitos centras, Programme Burės

Burės (“Sails” in Lithuanian) is a small, highly professional, committed and creative team based at Bendruomenių kaitos centras (BKC), a non-profit organisation which has been working closely with local communities since 2001.

Burės started as a pioneer program, with a preposition previously unheard of in Lithuania. The initial task of Burės was to develop and test its model of operation and to prove the existence of a customer base. With its own small fund and significant help of volunteers Burės launched several products:

Crowd-funding. Visitors of Burės’ website are invited to pay in advance for product or service, pooling funds to kick-off new enterprises. Projects funded through the crowd-funding platform, launched in 2011, can be found at <http://www.bkcentras.lt/bures>. A renewed platform is to be launched in mid december at [www.kelkbures.lt](http://www.kelkbures.lt).

Microcredit. Burės’ loans have financed projects such as the establishment of a nonprofit coworking space, an innovative child-care unit, a youth leisure center, and a summer camp for children at risk of offence. Burės finances short-term projects, often bridging the funding gap for Lithuania’s nonprofits and social enterprises. To date, all completed loans have been repaid in full.

Social entrepreneurship training. Burės holds workshops all over Lithuania to help local communities shape their entrepreneurial ideas and find the resources to implement social entrepreneurship activities.

Which other Creative Sectors has the SME worked with?
Performing & Visual Arts

Which other Growth Sectors has the SME worked with?
Society & Social Environment, Education, Heritage, Public Administration & Commerce

Were any relationships rewarding?

All project that Burės financed are unique and Burės team is usually actively involved from the very beginning, i.e. from shaping the idea and make a business plan all through the implementation stage. This way close relationships with projects are established and continue after initial aims are achieved. Our clients come back with new ideas and help to promote Burės as well as open up new partnerships.

It is rewarding to see how initial projects grow and reach out to new fields of action. For example, one of the projects Burės worked with in its first crowd funding platform, a mobile cheese-making factory, has opened an opportunity for the whole Dargužiai community. The community now produces and sells cheese, operates a cafe and a lively cultural and educational centre. Life in the community has changed, attracting young families who settle here because of employment opportunities and good quality of life. This project was especially rewarding for Burės in helping to see the potential of social finance and perceive new collaborative models which go further than funding individual projects.

How does the SME think it could benefit from other sectors' input?

Burės is interested in facilitating local sustainability models by means of social and innovative financing. The aim of such models is to better serve the needs of citizens while decreasing reliance on external financing. There are many directions in which these models can develop, however the overall approach embraces all sectors present within a community and requires variety of partners from many fields in order to achieve its aim.

For example, one model is to involve service providers and local producers in a small-scale local economy, where services can be provided in exchange of other services and locally produced goods. Similarly to Bitcoin, Burės’ local electronic currency could be developed ensuring that less “real money” leaves community and people who are otherwise not able to pay become part of economy.

Another model Burės would like to implement joins together social and financial engineering to solve larger scale problems (e.g. rehabilitation of a problematic district of a city). Innovative solutions and pooling together the resources of various sectors and industries as well as social finance are necessary for this model.

What can the SME offer other sectors?

Burės invites other sectors to be part of creative, innovative and mutually beneficial relationship.

The peer economy based financing model will diminish the need for social support (in the interest of local and national governments), will release more buying power of citizens (in the interest of service providers and producers) and will ensure that demand for services is better catered for (in the interest of citizens).

The collaborative problem solving model will be used to address and issue relevant to all partners, will seek to eliminate various barriers in other sector’s work and will help them achieve their aims in a more productive way.

To what extent would the SME be prepared to share information?

Burės invites all interested partners to work together in development of local sustainability and collaborative problem solving models, and are prepared to share our ideas and learn from others. We believe in open source and creative synergies and will be happy to share our know-how, insights and networks with those who might be interested.

How would the SME describe its potential for cross innovation?

Burės operates cross-sectors and cross-disciplines, and is committed to cross-innovation. Burės’ team is formed of specialists from variety of fields, including financial, media, community development and social entrepreneurship and enjoys significant support of volunteers. Burės works to achieve its mission and is open to ideas coming from all sectors and all possible contributors.

Out of the 11 Cross Innovation Partner Cities, are there any particular cities with which the SME would like to form a new relationship?

Are there any particular organisations outside the SMEs home country, with which it would like to connect?

Reabilita Lisboa, Lisbon City

Novos Povadores, Portugal http://novospovoadores.pt/, a program of revival of deserted settlements

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