Discussion – 


Discussion – 


Nurturing Leadership Seeds

Written by Rainer and Trish

A leadership development programme for young Ukrainian social entrepreneurs.

What is Nurturing Leadership Seeds?

Nurturing Leadership Seeds will select a group of 30 young social entrepreneurs who have already started their projects and who might, in one way or another, shape future policies in Ukraine, particularly in terms of pragmatic capacities and ideals for Ukraine to become a modern, democratic country and a full member of the EU with all its social standards

Who are we partnering with?

Support Ukraine Now (SUN) is our main partner for this ERASMUS+ funded leadership development programme, working with young leaders working to rebuild and transform Ukraine. SUN began after 24 February 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Social entrepreneurs contacted each other online and built a website https://supportukrainenow.org/ for international people to support activities in Ukraine.


In 2022, Fraendi reached out to Ukrainian leaders from an earlier ERASMUS+ project, CADRA (Cognitive Adult Development – from Research to Application), as they were curious about how they could include and support the next generation in Ukraine. Fraendi is an expert at walking alongside leaders, supporting leaders to develop their capacities to act in uncertainty, never pushing collaboration, simply generating invitations and a sense of allowing to help leaders to learn more skills and to grow the container of how they learn.  Max Semenchuk joined in conversation with Rainer and found the possibilities Fraendi offers inspiring and useful. Max felt the support of like-minded people and appreciated how Fraendi was reflecting on the situation in Ukraine. 

Max connected Rainer with Denys Andrushchenko, who had organised the first social entrepreneurship support programme Leaders Fund in 2020 with three young social entrepreneurs who had received financial support of €500 each month for six months and intensive mentoring for their initiatives. After further discussion, it became clear that Fraendi’s online developmental leadership practices and the StoryMatcher as an accompanying measure to assess participants, mentors, and faculty would help make the Leaders Fund programme scalable and deliverable during the invasion. 

Based on the successful earlier programme CADRA, Rainer organised a new consortium to bring partners from the EU together. He applied for a new ERASMUS+ grant of €250,000 for a one-year programme in 2024.

How is Nurturing Leadership Seeds delivered?

The selected social entrepreneurs will travel twice to the EU, convening in Croatia and France.

The first trip will be early in the leadership programme and will be based close to Zagreb in Croatia. Our local partner, Iva Mia Krušlin, will be involved in the leadership programme, bringing a background in adaptive leadership (Harvard) together with Fraendi’s facilitators, Jackie and Rainer. The group will meet Croatian activists and politicians who can share their experiences in the transition of Croatia from the post-Yugoslavia wars to its EU membership over the last 30 years. Ukrainians can thus benchmark their situation against the Croatian experience. We will invite Ukrainians who now live in Croatia to connect with the projects and social entrepreneurs from Ukraine to see how they can engage with each other.

The second trip will be to the house of Jean Monnet in Houjarray, France. Monnet is a role model for citizens who take political action and create synergetic initiatives across countries and governments. Among many initiatives over a long life, Monnet started taking steps towards the peaceful integration of Europe from his home in 1950. The house is now a museum and seminar space, and the group will discover the European Union through the lens of the civic practice of the founder. Our French partners, Julie Guegan and Patrick Marquet, will organise the visit and invite people from the French public life and Ukrainians who live in France to connect with the social entrepreneurs.

Online and in-person learning

Between the visits, Fraendi, together with the French and Croatian partners, will offer a variety of learning inputs and practice workshops to foster the resilience, cognitive development and decision-making capacities of the participants.

Mentors will regularly meet online or offline with the social entrepreneurs and support them individually.

Our online platform partner, Shala, whom we met during the CADRA project, will provide a tailored learning platform for all participants, mentors, organisers and faculty. The StoryMatcher functionalities Fraendi provides are fully integrated to support the selection of participants, the creation of peer learning groups, the matchmaking of mentor-mentee relationships, and the evaluation of the developmental shift of the participants after the programme.

What are the projected outcomes?

With this project, Fraendi, with all partners, supports SUN to launch its leadership programme at scale, to pilot a highly personalised and action-oriented leadership programme, and to prepare the ground for this programme to influence the next generation of publicly committed people in Ukraine, and according to the plans of SUN, in further countries with a similar situation as Ukraine, like Georgia or Moldova and a wider geographical arc. 

For more information about Nurturing Leadership Seeds contact: rainer@fraendi.org


Jan Gehl


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