Social investing and contracting in Alpine areas to meet the needs of young and elderly people

The AlpSib project aims to meet the needs of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and senior citizens in Alpine areas by helping to accelerate social impact investments (SIIs), largely through the introduction of social impact bonds (SIBs). These are contracts whereby private investors provide capital for public projects that generate social benefits, with repayment contingent upon specified outcomes being achieved.

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" AlpSib improves provision of assistance for capacity building of stakeholders in designing innovative social solutions and partnerships, public-private transnational networking in the third sector and matching of capital with projects. It also promotes a more harmonised approach to social impact investment policies. "

Anna Ulian, AlpSib project manager, Municipality of Pordenone

Several outputs enable AlpSib to reach its goals. An international hub backed by a harmonised methodology supports the setting up of SII initiatives and speeds up deployment of investment policies by promoting cross-border knowledge sharing, policy coordination and development in the Alpine region.

A dedicated web platform provides a space for practice communities to grow, and for matching project ideas with potential investors so as to leverage finance. It also hosts e-learning resources, a toolkit and database with scientific publications, contract templates, and details of project events.

Innovative solutions

The economic crisis has called into question established patterns in the social sector, with limited and shrinking resources no longer sufficient to address issues such as an ageing population, increasing burdens on health services and rising numbers of NEETs. These challenges give rise to a need for the development of a new social economy connecting the public, private and third (non-profit and voluntary) sectors.

By improving provision of assistance to and fostering transnational networking between stakeholders in these three sectors, AlpSib looks to develop a common understanding of SIIs and SIBs in the Alpine region and build capacity to jointly design innovative solutions to social problems.

International events

As knowledge levels of SIBs were quite low among the AlpSib target groups, eight events were organised in all five partner countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia) to provide introductory information. They increased levels of interest in the topic and changed some people’s views regarding the use of private capital to support welfare states.

Four international co-creative laboratory meetings were also held, each addressing a different SIB-related subject, namely, an introduction to SIB structure, impact definition and measurement, procurement, and investing for impact. Meetings were divided into two parts. In the first part, experts gave lectures and provided theoretical insights. In the second, participants discussed ideas with a view to developing feasible projects.

Five discussion papers, one per partner country, illustrate political scenarios in the field of social outcome contracting and investing, opportunities and barriers for further development of SIBs. On the basis of this research a transnational advisory board of SIB practitioners, investors, policymakers and academics share ideas, answer questions and debate how to construct a common methodology which would harmonise approaches to SII policies. Together with other project outputs this methodology will make it easier to commission social outcomes and share financial risk with private capital, resulting in greater value for money in public services and measurably better outcomes for NEETs and senior citizens.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “AlpSib - capacity development of public and private organisations for social impact bonds” is EUR 2 152 988, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 830 039 through the “Alpine Space” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.


Draft date