Interview with Sotiris Petropoulos, Director of HIGGS (Higher Incubator Giving Growth and Sustainability)
In February 2019, at the Responsible Business Awards in Greece, HIGGS was awarded the “NGO in education of the year 2018”. Congratulations for this achievement, extremely honouring for such a young organization. Please, tell us what differentiates HIGGS from other organizations in the field? Which are, in your opinions, the factors that lead to this award?
For the time being, in Greece, you cannot find another organization offering HIGGS services. HIGGS is the only provider of services specialized for Civil Society, which were and are really needed for the enhancement of the operation of various NGOs who operate in Greece.
We strongly believe that the ideas can become reality when provided with appropriate techniques and experience. We are here to help those who help, those ordinary people who have good ideas, intentions and willingness to offer to society. We have established an open communication channel with the Civil Society in Greece and we try to address their needs and create new services to them.
Which are the current and future projects of HIGGS?
HIGGS currently runs 3 flagship programs:
- Incubator: addressed to NGOs with up to 2 years of operation, or that haven’t been officially founded yet. It aims at helping them organize and operate efficiently and secure their first funding.
- Accelerator: addressed to NGOs with operation over 2 years with up to 40 administrative staff. It aims at helping them design and submit a successful funding application as well as accelerate their growth.
- Recharge: addressed to operating NGOs with an outdated organizational structure that supports beneficiaries unable to turn to other entities for help and are facing severe financial viability issues.
- provides tailor made training to NGOs
- social impact measurement evaluations
- participates in various European Projects aiming in the enhancement of CSOs and adult training education
- hosts in its premises events for the Civil Society
- cooperates closely with private companies in the framework of their CSR
We have many interesting and innovative ideas and plans for the future, so stay tuned in our website and social media!!!!
What did you learn in the past three years considering the dynamics of the NGO sector in Greece, as well as the relationships between the non-profit and for-profit sector in Greece?
One thing is for sure: Civil Society in Greece provides enormous social work without any substantial help from the public sector. The for-profit sector is periodically and gradually being involved but NGOs need to be really careful about this cooperation, as companies usually have their own agendas. Nevertheless, there is a crucial need to join forces towards specific social issues. The dynamics are not clear yet, as all the stakeholders (public sector, private sector, foundations etc.) influence the environment which is constantly changing.