A significant part of the EU economy is nowadays known as social economy. Social Economy approach indicates that the major goal of the belonging organisations is to serve members of the community rather than to seek profit. Moreover, the social economy relies on democratic decision-making processes, which represent a structural procedure to control the actual pursuit of the organisation’s goals. Among the organisations belonging to the social economy one can find associations, cooperatives and mutual organisations and, more recently, also foundations and social enterprises. The social economy operates a very broad number of commercial activities, provides a wide range of products and services across the European market and generates millions of jobs. Social enterprises and cooperatives are also an engine for social innovation and they are promoters of sustainable development, democratic structure and equitable distribution of economic results.
Throughout Europe there is a long tradition of cooperative business, around 250.000 cooperatives in the EU territory employing 5.4 million people. Despite the great weight of this social economy there is still a great need in increasing the number of cooperatives and promoting social businesses for a more sustainable development.
Besides, the diffusion of cooperatives model and the social economies is in line with the EU commitment on the implementing of Sustainable Development Goals since the proposed models can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through a more sustainable development.
The diffusion of the cooperative model can be the engine for social innovation, through innovative start-ups answering to people’s needs and can bring local development and contribute in the long term to the reduction of unemployment.
Under the promotional aspect, in Sweden, in Italy, in Island, in Cyprus, despite the high number of cooperatives present in different sectors such as agriculture, forestry, banking and retail there is still a lack of entrepreneurial skills and trainers adequately trained and capable of motivating new people in pursuing the cooperativist model. There is a recognized need in exchanging experiences among trainers and cooperative associations and collect successful experiences that can be implemented in other similar European realities following a common and succesfull model.
The general objective of the project therefore is to contribute to strengthening a competitive social economy in Europe through the spread of new cooperatives.
Specific objectives of the project will aim at:
1. Strengthening the skills of entrepreneurship trainers promoting cooperative business
2. Exchanging experiences on social entrepreneurship education among trainers across Europe
3. Developing innovative tools and methodologies to assist trainers in their promotion of the cooperative model among adults
Objective n. 1. To strengthen the skills of entrepreneurship trainers promoting cooperative business:
1.1 Increased knowledge on cooperative education among trainers promoting entrepreneurship education and operators of cooperative federations and unions;
1.2 Improved competences on teaching cooperative education in trainers and advisors
1.3 Delivered a new learning model tailored on the need requirements (intellectual output 1)
Objective n. 2 to exchange experiences on social entrepreneurship education among operators across Europe
2.1 enhanced collaboration between cooperative organizations in the EU
2.2 improved knowledge on other systems to support cooperative business in other European countries and exchange of good practices
2.3 raise awareness on the positive social impact of the cooperative model
Objective n.3 to develop innovative tools and methodologies to assist trainers in their promotion of the cooperative model among adults
3.1 a new e-learning portal where the learning model will be present in open access is delivered, (intellectual output 4)