Non-Profit Incubator (NPI), a not-for-profit organisation serving the development of the social sector in China, will be launching The Nest, a Social Innovation Park that brings together social enterprises in one physical space and provides support for these enterprises to scale their operations. The park will officially be opened in the summer of 2013.

The Nest is designed to be a platform that connects partners with social enterprises. It will also help incubate and support social entrepreneurs through management training and capacity building. The park site offers a range of spaces for rent to social enterprises, and encourages collaboration, innovation and the sharing of ideas.

Leigh-Anne Russell, who is in charge of The Nest, told AVPN, “The NEST enables the rapid growth of outstanding social enterprises in China by mobilising local communities and facilitating cross sector, cross border collaboration.”

The program was created in 2009 with the aim of creating a pilot programme in Shanghai to support like-minded social enterprise organisations serving the disabled community. Over the last three years, “it proved so successful at helping small social enterprises scale up and generate employment that today The Nest has expanded to a larger, unique heritage site location in the heart of Shanghai”.

At present, about 20 social enterprises and NGOs are a part of the project and more than 50 enterprises are expected at full occupancy.

The Shanghai Ministry of Civil Affairs (SH MOCA) has invested in the renovations and regeneration of the Gongyi Xintiandi (公益新天地) location, and continues to provide strategic direction and oversight. Leigh-Anne said SH MOCA is committed to supporting the project during the start up operations phase with subsidies provided to cover operating costs till the occupancy rate reaches a level where the project breaks even.