IRIS (Incubadora Regional de Inovação Social), the first Regional Social Innovation Incubator launched by the Institute and other partners to foster regional development through social innovation, is now a non-profit association.
The change of structure, as of 12 June 2020, will enable IRIS to further develop its impact mission, ensure the continuity of this successful European pilot project and continue the work carried out in support of impact initiatives and the creation of an ecosystem for social innovation in the north of Portugal.
Launched in 2017 with the support of the EIB Institute, PortusPark, EMPIS (Estrutura de Missão Portugal Inovação Social) and Portugal Inovação Social, IRIS consists of a physical and virtual hub for incubation of social innovation initiatives, linked to an innovative programme of capacity building for social innovation at an inter-municipal level for the Tâmega e Sousa region in the north of Portugal. There are currently 16 start-ups in incubation, with an additional 24 that have already graduated from the programme.
IRIS also includes an education programme targeting children in the first cycle of education, but also including secondary and higher education students (Youth Impact weeks). Close to 3 000 school-age children in the first cycle have already participated in the 136 classes.