ESSI: European Support to Social Innovation

Four Regional Development Agencies, ERVET, ADA, KAINUUN ETU, IVACE operating in the North and in the South European Regions (Italy, Turkey, Finland, Spain), dealing with innovation support programmes, implementation of Structural Funds and experienced in social innovation policies and programs want to deepen their knowledge and find joint solutions to challenges hindering the development of social economy. Thus, they want to promote new approaches able to overcome a fragmented approach to policies supporting social economy and the innovation and competitiveness of social enterprises.

A new policy mix, taking into consideration social, economic and environmental aspects (Agenda 2030), would be able to overcome “silos policies” and to create a favorable ecosystem for social enterprises. They will work together with regional public and private social economy stakeholders to analyze beneficiaries’ needs and promote new policies and actions.

Already existing approaches and best practices will be shared in a mutual learning process among Regional Development Agencies, and related regions that will be enlarged through EURADA and ERRIN networks for more effective and targeted regional and European innovation programs for social enterprises. Moreover, partners, accordingly with INNOSUP general scope, choose to focus on social innovation as it is “required at the interface between public services and private enterprises” with a view to jointly learn and discuss about public and private partnership and co-design approach.


Projects objectives

1. To deliver adequate innovation support, which better meets European Social Enterprises (SE) needs. Partnership’s starting point will be the assumption that a Social Enterprise, according to European Commission definition, is: “an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than make a profit for their owners or shareholders. It operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative fashion and uses its profits primarily to achieve social objectives. It is managed in an open and responsible manner and, in particular, involves employees, consumers and stakeholders affected by its commercial activities”. There is no single legal form for social enterprises. Many operate in the form of social cooperatives, some are registered as private companies limited by guarantee, some are mutual, and a lot of them are no-profit-distributing organisations like provident societies, associations, voluntary organisations, charities or foundations. Despite their diversity, partners agree with E.C. classification and they will consider four fields of the SE operation: work integration, personal social services, local development of disadvantaged areas, other (e.g. recycling, environmental protection, sports, arts, culture or historical preservation, science, research and innovation, consumer protection).

2. To discover and discuss the respective existing social innovation support approach from the consortium members, mainly focusing on the following new topics – not yet fully explored by SE: a) SE competitiveness enhancing the use of ICT potentialities both in services deliver and at the organizational level; b) Access to innovative finance opportunities; c) PMI start up in social innovation with a focus on emerging challenges (e.g. migrants); d) value chains building and internationalization of Social Enterprises.
3. To discuss and suggest a range of new approaches on social innovation based on public and private co-design to be taken by Regional governments in their innovation support programmes and services.

4.To ensure a wide dissemination and participation of other Regional development agencies and actors through existing European and international networks and platforms (Eurada, Errin, Enterprise Europe Network Forums).






For more information

ERVET Emilia-Romagna Valorizzazione Economica Territorio
Unità Unione Europea, cooperazione internazionale e coesione sociale
Responsabile: Roberta Dall’Olio