Analysis of Disruptions in the Social Economy Ecosystem

Submitted by Veronika Muller on 16 June 2020

Summary of the European Alliance Against Coronavirus Daily Webinar on 12 June 2020 

This morning session was opened by Karel Vanderpoorten from DG GROW, European Commission, who introduced the social economy ecosystem, European action in this field, and the connection of the social economy with other ecosystems. The first speaker, Tomas Bignal from European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), defined the concept of the social services sector, which includes the provision of care and support services for older persons, persons with disabilities, children and young people, homeless persons, persons in or at risk of poverty, and the types of services that offered. In this sector, there are over 200,00 organizations across Europe (not-for-profit, public, and for-profit), mostly SME-sized. They employ around 11 million professionals, and the economic return of investment shows that an initial social impact generates a triple impact in job creation. The money stays in local communities, and helps companies become more inclusive.

During the pandemic, residential care facilities have remained active, however homecare provision was significantly reduced and shifted online, social services felt left behind, and millions could not access the care and the support services they need. During the meeting, the following disruptions were identified: income source decrease, restrictions of movement,  redirection of public funds, shortage of PPE, and exclusion from Regional Smart Specialization Projects.

Suzanne  Wisse-Huiskes, CEO of Euclid Network, illustrated the importance of networks in the social ecosystem that - in the specific case of Euclid - is composed by 30 members in 20 countries with different impacts on community with one common goal: to boost social entrepreneurship. In times of crisis, social enterprises can be considered an accelerator for social changes. Innovation is key to their activities, they are resilient, and the employees are impact-driven and know how to move locally.

Suzanne presented the ImpactCity project that helps innovative entrepreneurs to start successfully and to grow their businesses. The ImpactCity hub connects startups with governments, international companies, research centers, studios, and thousands of creative entrepreneurs.

A recording of the session is here available.  

These are the complete minutes of the meeting: 

20200612 ECA daily minutes_V2.pdf

You can find information on the previous meetings here; information on the upcoming agenda here.  

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

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