A boundless space where social enterprises from Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Italy meet
At the heart of every good idea is the desire for beneficial impact on all who are and will be involved in it. And at the heart of the successful realization of every such idea is the support that its creators receive from adherents and co-workers in the common good. With the aim to be such a supportive environment where good ideas are born and putted in motion, Lab4e has begun its work.
On December 15, together with the first participants in Lab4e: The Know-How Lab for Social Entrepreneurship we’ve laid the foundations of the processes of sharing experience, researching foreign good practices and improving our ability as social entrepreneurs to respond to pressing social needs and challenges.
One of the first steps in exploring the experience of foreign social enterprises was the development of a report with good practices in different European countries. The examples were gathered with the assistance of the project partners - De Passerel Foundation (The Netherlands), Regional Institute for cooperative education and studies “Irecoop Veneto” (Italy), Association “PRISM - International Promotion Sicily-World” (Italy). When presented during the meeting, the scale of the activities that partners as social enterprises are developing provokes the question: “What do we lack to achieve this scale of work and the social impact we’d like to have?”. The answers immediately appeared on the white sheet: Empathy, Courage, Adequate actions, Resources, Experience, Know-How, Confidence, Imagination, Patience. We let you decide if you agree and would you add something else.
Lab4e will have three research and experience exchange focuses for the next year. Namely they are:
- Mechanisms for tracking the readiness of people with disabilities to join the labour market and in general for improving the working process for both disabled people and other employees in social enterprises;
- Methods for effective management of social enterprises approaching better optimization of working processes and higher productivity of the employees in them;
- Good practices and examples for including marginalized groups (refugees and migrants) in the labour market through social enterprises employment with the aim for their successful socio-economic integration into the society.
The participants in the meeting formed three groups around these themes and disscussed basic questions that they would like to ask their foreign colleagues - those who have already passed, if not the same, but similar challenges and difficulties. Because, as we all agreed in Lab4e, finding solutions begins by asking the right questions.
When we talk about social entrepreneurship, we should not forget about the skill not to compete (perhaps one of the basic rules in the ordinary business), but to unite and learn from the experience of others
. Looking at foreign examples of social enterprises, our ambition in Lab4e is to gain knowledge and inspiration, to find the answers to the specific challenges we are facing here and which someone else has already overcome. This, of course, does not mean that we are expecting someone to tell us guaranteed formulas for success. On the contrary, each of the participants in the meeting clearly shared their understanding that planning and undertaking specific implementation steps is an individual solution and responsibility for each organization. This process could only be supported by adherents and co-workers in the common good – by all of us in Lab4e.
Talks continued after the formal end of the meeting and will certainly continue beyond Lab4e. Because Lab4e is a space without boundaries - it is for all who are ready:
To be brave in their imagination and actions, to be confident in their abilities and skills, to seek the necessary resources and know-how, to gain experience and to learn from the experience of others, to be adequate in their actions responding to the social needs, to be led by the creative power of empathy and have the patience to see the impact of their work (what Lab4e participants saw as a path to the successful social entrepreneurship).
Welcome to Lab4e!
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The project “Know-How Lab for Social Entrepreneurship” is held under the “Human Resources Development” Operational Programme 2014-2020 through joint financing by the European Social Fund in the European Union.