In the middle of the summer, social entrepreneurs from all over the country discussed current topics related to how to develop the potential of entrepreneurship and the opportunity to achieve greater public benefit with our activities as social enterprises. The forum "Social Innovations and the Potential of the Social Economy for Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis" was organized online in partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Balkan Institute for Labor and Social Policy and the National School of Management. The main topic of the discussion was: what are the challenges faced by the social and solidarity economy today and what are the solutions we can offer.
The forum was opened by Deputy Minister Dr. Sultanka Petrova, who sent an important message to the participants: "The social and solidarity economy provides an opportunity to work in the public benefit. It allows you to create new jobs. Today is the time to turn the difficulties into new opportunities. We do not need social assistance and benefits, but we need work for the Bulgarian economy to work. In this regard, social enterprises must remain viable and continue to create employment. "
"There is no serious and real support for the social enterprises, because they lack a united voice to declare them. We have two tasks: to gather the voices, to create the representation and to put the issue for real, fast and timely support in the crisis situation, to think about flexible legislation, to use the new forms of employment, to direct them to social enterprises. Let's keep the enthusiasm "- Ivan Neykov, Balkan Institute of Labor and Social Policy
"We need to seek the sustainable European solutions, to create a center to support the social economy. The law is only a first step, but there must be a strategy and a good plan. ”- Victor Messeguer, Director of Social Economy Europe and member of the Expert Group on Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship at the European Commission
"The line between normal business and social entrepreneurship is already getting lost, more and more sustainable and social businesses are merging into one." - Boyan Benev, digital and social entrepreneur.
"The crisis as an opportunity: now you can start with less money, but building a community will be the key element. Now is the time for us to build. Building businesses so that they can help other people (a remark by Mark Andersen) is the way to get out of this crisis stronger; it's time to see the potential of the opportunities in the crisis "- Stanislav Sirakov, partner in LAUNCHub Ventures.
"The crisis is a great opportunity for the social enterprises, because social causes are close to people’s hearts at such times. Social enterprises have one serious advantage which is that you work with human stories and emotions at all levels ", Boyana Stoilova, expert in building a digital brand.
"We lost one opportunity - direct contact, and then we had to think about another communication channel - instead of selling wine, we started thinking about other messages to connect with people through good messages of happiness." - Valentina Hristakieva, Global Initiative on Psychiatry -Sofia.
Among the problems they outlined were:
Possible solutions include: extending subsidy measures to the staff in general, not just to vulnerable groups alone; joint representation can be a key solution to address current challenges; incentives for all businesses to buy the products of social enterprises; opportunities for exchange by fields of activity or regionally to optimize resources.
The request for further meetings remained, in which the social enterprises in discussion with representatives of the involved institutions to propose good solutions and measures to improve the climate and the sustainability of the social economy.