The recent General Assembly meeting of the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE) shed light on critical challenges and ongoing initiatives within the social enterprise sector. The meeting tackled multifaceted issues ranging from economic hardships in Ukraine to strategic planning for sustainable growth.
In Ukraine, the economic landscape remains tumultuous, contributing to the pressing need for social enterprises to address social challenges. The meeting participants emphasized the urgency of fostering more social enterprises to tackle these issues head-on.
A significant development in Ukraine was the launch of a state grant program by the Ministry, aimed at gauging the impact of social enterprises. However, a notable concern highlighted during the meeting was the absence of a comprehensive survey to collect data on social businesses across Ukraine. Such a survey could provide valuable insights into the creation of new opportunities for workers and the overall impact of social enterprises on the local economy.
Strategic planning took center stage during the discussions, with a focus on the need for robust educational programs to empower and support social entrepreneurs. The meeting participants recognized that, beyond financial assistance, educational initiatives play a pivotal role in driving the success and sustainability of social enterprises.
During the meeting, ENSIE welcomed a new member, CDI from North Macedonia. Sreten Koceski, representing CDI Macedonia, provided an overview of their work, highlighting their focus on work integration in North Macedonia. The discussion also touched upon the lack of a legal definition of social entrepreneurship in the country, indicating the need for legal frameworks to support and recognize such organizations.
Financial matters were also on the agenda, with Duncan Walker, Treasurer of ENSIE, presenting the 2023 financial forecast and the 2024 budget. Notably, discussions revolved around the allocation of funds, income from projects, and co-funding requirements. The meeting approved both the 2024 budget and the ENSIE sustainability strategy, outlining plans for eco-friendly initiatives and partnerships.
The meeting concluded with updates on the B-WISE project, which focuses on a sectoral skills strategy for Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) in Europe. Members were encouraged to actively participate in the promotional plan for WISEs and the sustainability roadmap. Additionally, the meeting addressed the European Pillar of Social Rights and the ALMA initiative, showcasing ENSIE's commitment to social causes on both regional and global fronts.