What is the SIF

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is a new public policy instrument to boost impact investment in Portugal.

Funded by financial allocations from the European Social Fund and National Funds, the SIF focuses on two types of financial instruments, Financing and Co-investment, and is one of the four instruments implemented by Portugal Social Innovation initiative, which aims at supporting Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives (SISEI) that offer innovative, impactful and sustainable solutions to tackle societal problems.

Portugal is one of the first countries in the world to set up a fund for Social Innovation. The SIF is an enabling instrument for impact investment in Portugal, aligned with global best practices and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Applications are now OPEN for SIF EQUITY and will open soon for SIF DEBT.

What is social innovation?

Social innovation can be defined as the development and implementation of new ideas (products, services and models) that more effectively address societal needs, while simultaneously creating new social relationships or collaborations to improve human well-being.

Social innovations are innovations that are social in both their ends and their means. These innovations are not only good for society, but also enhance society’s capacity to act.

Social innovation is the process through which all new solutions to address societal needs are developed to offer better social outcomes. This process has four key steps:

  • Identifying new/unmet/inadequately met needs;
  • Developing new solutions to address these societal needs;
  • Assessing the effectiveness of the new solution in addressing these societal needs;
  • Widespread implementation of effective social innovations.

in Bureau of European Policy Advisors, 2011
Guide to Social Innovation, 2013

Areas of intervention

SIF supports initiatives in several areas of intervention, such as:

  • Promoting employment, training and education;
  • Promoting social, financial and digital inclusion;
  • Promoting active ageing;
  • Promoting health and well-being;
  • Other areas that are considered Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives.
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