Social Incubator (IRIS)



IRIS, is the first Regional Social Innovation Incubator and a major player in the development of the ecosystem for social innovation in Portugal.

Based in Porto, Portugal, this European project supports local social entrepreneurs to start up, test and scale their venture by offering them all the necessary conditions for accessing knowledge, networks of partnerships and social investors. Some 30 startups have already benefited from the incubator’s services. In addition, every year, 10 to 12 high-impact initiatives are selected for a six-month competitive Acceleration Programme.

IRIS provides social entrepreneurs with intensive support enabling them to take advantage of investment opportunities and networks. It also provides synergies and complementarities with the growing community of social entrepreneurs supported by the Institute through the Social Innovation Tournament.

To become an ecosystem, social innovation requires communities and networks to thrive and expand. IRIS also runs an education programme attended by more than 2200 children from 149 primary schools and a community programme, training local “ambassadors” and organising events to nurture and promote social innovation such as roundtables or training seminars.

Every year, IRIS organises a Social Innovation Meet Up to take stock of its achievements.

Launched in 2017 by the Institute in partnership with Portus Park and with the support of EMPIS (Estrutura de Missão Portugal Inovação Social) and other partners, IRIS became a non-profit association in 2020 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.