Integrated support system of social economy in Poland

Integrated support system of social economy in Poland

14.06.2013 Blog

One of interesting projects in Poland is the “Integrated support system of social economy” (in Polish: Zintegrowany system wsparcia ekonomii społecznej, ZSWES) which started in the middle of 2009 and will last for the next few years. The project is carried out by UNDP Project Office in Poland in partnership with the Institute of Public Affairs, the Malopolska School of Public Administration Cracow University of Economics, Foundation for Social and Economic Initiatives, Centre for Development of Human Resources, The Cooperation Fund Foundation, BARKA Foundation and National Auditing Union of Workers’ Co-operatives.

The activities undertaken in the framework of this project are among others: dissemination of good practices and issues of social economy, establishing contacts with the social economy actors in given region and at the supranational level, construction management competencies of representatives of social economy through training and internships, building a network of partnerships with other entities, private or public, and work together to solve a given problem in a given area.

UNDP’s plays important role in the project and  its participation is focused on:

• promotion of social economy issues and good practices,

• establishing contacts with social economy enterprises at regional and international level,

• building management capacities of social enterprises representatives through trainings and internships,

• building a network of partnerships with private and public actors in order to address particular problematic issues of the given area.

The aim of the project is to create 25 model partnerships, based on the concept of social economy until the end of 2013. Distinguishing feature of social economy is that in a business activity social and economic aims interconnected. Social enterprise seems to be the heart of this concept. Social enterprise, according to EMES network, is defined on the basis of 4 economic indicators: a continuous activity producing goods and services, a high degree of autonomy, economic risk taking, a certain amount of risk and 5 social indicators: an initiative launched by a group of citizens, a decision making power not based on capital ownership of a participatory nature, which involves the persons affected by the activity, limited profit distribution  and explicit aim to benefit the community.

In order to carry out the social economy project, following actions were taken:

• training of 250 participants in building local partnerships and establishing social economy entities,

• internships combined with targeted trainings for 250 participants,

• development of partnership models at two levels – urban and rural

• organization of social economy meetings (16 meetings for approximately 320 participants)

•  international study visits (45 participants) and 25 4-day trainings (for approximately 200 participants).

A concrete result of this project is appointing  nineteen ” Social Economy Angels” (which will support at least 20 social economy activities), developing updated database of products and services of social economy entities distributed among companies and institutions, and creation of Social Economy Centre in Lublin (town in south-east Poland) with a goal to  support social economy infrastructure in Poland and organization a competition for the best social-private partnership.

The project is financed by the European Union under the European Social Fund (ESF) as a part of The Integrated System of Support to Social Economy.

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