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Project SEHUBS – Co-creating Hubs for Social Enterprises

29 April 2021

Project SEHUBS is funded under the ERASMUS+ Programme (agreement number 621421-EPP-1-2020-1-IT-EPPKA3-IPI-SOC-IN)

 

 

General project information:

The overall purpose of the project is to elaborate an innovative model of co-creation hub for social enterprises that are working with various disadvantaged groups or for overcoming social issues in various fields (culture, sport, employment, etc.). It aims further on to test the practical application of that model in different local contexts where the project partners operate.
The social enterprises are one of the main instruments to provide solutions to various societal challenges and are recognized as such in most of the EU countries as local innovators for change. There are however analysis and researches showing that SE share similar obstacles and needs in order to secure not just financial but operational sustainability. Most of the existing SE supporting facilities in the partner countries are primarily providing specific trainings for SE mainly focused on their business and market development, but not so much on their staff development and capacity building and/or venue space for their activities. The project will address precisely these issues considering that SE hubs should provide not only analytical and/or venue resources for SE development (such as impact assessment tools, buisneess plans,etc.) but also a comprehensive peer-to-peer inclusive training programmes, organizational management matrixes, opportunities for direct contact between SE and potential clients (such as shops, workshops, bazars, etc.) and last but not least – opportunities to find counterparts outside of their local communities in order to exchange ideas and identify joint fields of cooperation and growth. Creating innovative SE co-creation hub model that is easily adaptable to the specifics of various local contexts will foster the future successful operational and expert development of SEs as organizations but also will help them serve as sustainable inclusive training centres for various members of the communities no matter of their differences and background specifics. In this way it will help to build more inclusive societies where all members share common values and respect each-others rights.

 

Project details and activities:

The project activities follow the process of elaboration of an innovative co-creation SE hub model and focus on three major groups of challenges for social enterprises towards achieving operational and financial sustainability:

1. Staff management within social enterprises

Due to their specific nature of social enterprises – to pursue social mission in economically sustainable way so that measurable social impact could be achieved requires operational capacity and innovative instruments in that area that are in correspondence with the specific size and personnel structure of these micro enterprises. SEs very often are impeded in finding the right experts to work with their target groups (staff recruitment), in motivating them to stay (staff retain) and providing them opportunities for improving their expert knowledge and experience (staff training). On the other hand, they very often act as direct employers of disadvantaged people hiring them within the economic undertakings managed by SEs. Such diversified personnel leads to the SE need of designing its internal personnel management policies and training programs using inclusive approaches.

2. Shared training knowledge exchange programs

Social enterprises are relatively new instrument for EU societies to fight significant community issues. For the past 10 years they proved to have the potential to become one of the most successful ways to achieve sustainable community change as they work directly with individuals who are very often in vulnerable position or on grass-root level. This, however, keeps SEs focused mostly on local level and hinder them from up-scaling their own activities through partnerships and exchange of knowledge and information with their counterparts. We believe that SE hubs are one way to elaborate and provide instruments for comprehensive networking and training of SEs. This will strengthen their eco-system and will also prepare them to be better advocates for improving the existing policy regulations on various levels.

3.    Innovative ways for market distribution of SEs’ goods and services

SEs are required to operate in economically sustainable manner but at the same time they need to be able to communicate their activities and impact with local communities and thus be able to receive their support. This is why we believe that any opportunities that are created for SEs to meet with general public and disseminate their products will benefit their successful economic development.

 

Timeframe of the project: 1 January 2021 – 31 December 2022

Project partners: PRISM (Italy); Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (Bulgaria); Athens Lifelong Learning Institute (Greece) and University of Lodz (Poland)

 

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