After a well-deserved Christmas holiday, the SocialTech4EU project consortium gathered on the 10th of January for their third steering committee. This one was a special one as the partners met in-person in Turin to discuss upcoming plans. The survey to identify needs and challenges of social enterprises when it comes to innovation has been launched, now the project partners are looking forward to the next stages: to inspire, up-skill and re-skill, to innovate and to scale up the innovation.
The project, being the largest social start-up programme of the EU, is currently in its beginning phases. One of the first actions foreseen was publishing a survey to identify the needs and challenges of social enterprises when it comes to innovation. The social economy in the EU is good for 13 million paid jobs, represents 6,3% of the workforce and has a high proportion of female workers. Moreover, the social economy plays a central role when thinking about today’s challenges such as climate change and an ageing population. At the same time, Social economy organisations face structural difficulties linked to the lack of digital skills, that hamper their potential to create more jobs and to address societal challenges on a larger scale while inspiring systemic changes in the mainstream economy. This project is based on the assumption that the capacity of social economy actors to develop fair digital business models based on open-source protocols for data and technology could be supported and scaled-up.
To get a clear picture of the current situation, the project is now gathering input of social enterprises about their experience with innovation. The results from the survey will feed into the design of the voucher and grant schemes for education, innovation, and acceleration activities. What are their barriers to innovation? What are their priorities to increase innovation capacity? And what is, according to them, needed to build a conducive environment for social enterprise technological development? Are you a social enterprise and would you like to share your input?
The consortium welcomes input until the 28th of February 2023. Please find the survey here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/SocialTech4EU
The next stages of the project include a European Map of social enterprises which will provide the opportunity to social enterprises to connect with other social enterprises, an open call for social enterprises for the education and voucher scheme – to support their re- and upskilling, followed by an innovation scheme in the form of a grant. This way, the project want to offer the needed tools for social enterprises to innovate, not only by providing information and knowledge but also by offering financial support, which will be an unique opportunity for social enterprises across the EU.
We are looking forward to the next stages of the project! Please follow this page and our social media accounts to learn more.