5 initiatives that rhyme Europe and SSE

The European Union is a wonderful opportunity to share skills and pool positive initiatives. For more than 15 years, Groupe SOS has been working with many European partners to place the social and solidarity economy at the heart of the old continent, in many fields. Agroecology, food, integration through employment… Discover 5 of our projects carried out beyond European borders!

 

A project to put cooking at the service of the well-being of the elderly

Our association Silver Fourchette leads a European project: Tous en Cuisine, cooking of generations and horizons, is co-financed by INTERREG Rhine – Superior and in partnership with a Swiss association. It fights against the isolation of the elderly through cooking workshops that bring together seniors and young people from different countries.

Technology for a better world

The GIFT project is funded by Erasmus+ and led by H7 in partnership with BeCentral (Belgium). It brings together high-tech entrepreneurs from several European countries for co-construction workshops and the exchange of best practices so that everyone can increase their societal impact.

Restoring heritage, a path to the professional world

The HERO project, is funded by Erasmus+ and led by Acta Vista in partnership with Grada Dragodid (Croatia), Boulouki (Greece), BAO formation (France), and Pour La Solidarité (Belgium). Its objective is to promote the socio-professional integration of people who are far from employment by increasing the skills of professional trainers on the inclusive and ecological aspects of the sector of renovation of threatened historical heritage.

Digital education for all! 

The WISE (Work Integration Social Enterprises) for Digital Upskilling project, funded by Erasmus+, led by Ateliere Fara Frontiere in partnership with Formació i Treball (Spain), Brigades Nature (France), ENSIE (Belgium, EU) and RISE România. The mission is to train vulnerable people in digital tools to facilitate their professional integration. It improves the mentoring skills of those who work in social enterprises and train vulnerable people.

A more feminine entrepreneurial world

The FoWoSe project is funded by Erasmus+ and led by PULSE to make the entrepreneurial ecosystem more diverse and inclusive towards women by mainstreaming gender equality issues in a transversal way in all areas of business. It also allows the development of the structures’ staff skills to better train and accompany women social entrepreneurs. 

Europe is a vast stage with diversified actors, thus the opportunities are numerous. Our conviction: to act with its different actors, whatever the nationalities, to fight, act and innovate together to meet the needs of society.

 
 

Alexandre Lourié, new General Manager of GROUPE SOS International action

Former General Manager for Culture at GROUPE SOS for more than 4 years, Alexandre Lourié is back at GROUPE SOS as General Manager for International action, after a year spent in Sweden.

Alexandre Lourié first joined GROUPE SOS in 2016 where he launched and led the Culture activities. Before his first experience at GROUPE SOS, Alexandre Lourié, a graduate of Sciences Po and HEC, started his career working for an NGO in the Philippines, and then in consulting activities in China and Morocco. He then founded his own social impact measurement company, with which he received the Erignac Prize for his work in the fields of overindebtedness, social housing and depollution, before joining a ministerial cabinet for state reform.

In 2020, after his first stint at GROUPE SOS, he moved to Stockholm to join the Boston Consulting Group and bring his expertise in impact investment consulting. During this time, he continued to serve GROUPE SOS as a Trustee. He has also written a novel entitled « La dissimulation » (L’Harmattan, 2021), which explores the themes of the quest for self and transmission.

His arrival as General Manager of International action at GROUPE SOS is part of an ambitious strategy to bring the experience, values and innovations of the Group beyond borders, while building long-term partnerships with local actors from the associative, economic, public and academic world.

 


« Our ambition is to do what we are already doing, and what we are not yet doing! On the one hand, the sector has 10 social enterprises, in the form of NGOs or impact companies, present in over forty countries. Our actions are very diverse: training 6,000 health professionals, supporting 300,000 young people through education and through sport, preserving 1,700 hectares of forests and biodiversity, and supporting 550 social entrepreneurs. And with the health and climate crises, we must always outdo ourselves to be as useful as possible. On the other hand, we want to act beyond our existing actions, to accelerate the systemic change the planet needs. The GROUPE SOS model of entrepreneurship for the benefit of all has proved its worth in France, and it deserves to be taken to a global scale. » – Alexandre Lourié, General Manager of International action at GROUPE SOS.


 

SOS Group is now part of OECD’s Global Action : Promoting Social & Solidarity Economy Ecosystems

The International action sector team of SOS GROUP is a key contributor to the OECD Global Action Promoting Social & Solidarity Economy Ecosystems program. In 2020, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched this initiative founded by the EU to promote the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) around the globe. It involves more than 30 countries (EU member states and non-EU members) for a three-year period to tackle scaling challenges that SSE actors face when they grow internationally. 

 

The Conference: from the margins to the mainstream 

The first international Conference “The Social and Solidarity Economy : From the Margins to the Mainstream” of the OECD Global action took place from Sept 13th – 16th. We willingly attended this major virtual event during which the preliminary findings of the PLPs were shared with hundreds of SSE experts all around the world, including institutional donors and policy makers. 

 

 

A promising initiative that SOS GROUP is proud to be part of 

To work efficiently, the Global Action initiative is divided in six Peer Learning Partnerships (PLPs). Each of them is working as a consortium on a dedicated topic. SOS GROUP is proud to be part of the third PLP called “Global action to promote the internationalisation of SSE organisations and the role of women in the SSE”. This consortium is led by the world’s largest entrepreneurial network, Impact Hub, and it gathers 23 actors of the ecosystem of the SSE from 11 countries. It is subdivided in 3 groups and SOS GROUP focuses its expertise on Group 3 : identifying how women’s perspectives can be brought into SSE for internationalization processes. 

 

The benefits of the Peer Learning Partnership method  

The PLP approach is unique because of the learning process it creates through three key elements: 

  • Assessment : identifying, evaluating and exchanging/disseminating good practices , tools and plans amongst network partners 
  • Benchmarking : documenting, monitoring and validating good practices and testing their transferability to other contexts 
  • Mutual learning: improving the quality, efficiency and impact of policies designed and implemented by a diversity of partners. 

This method helps making a frame that will be used to support SSE businesses to grow simultaneously internationally and in equality. 

As PLP brings together different territories, we were confronted to a challenge to establish flexible concepts that can be implemented on a local scale in different countries and regions of the world. As Andre Maciel, the Program Manager (Impact Hub) in charge, said “these concepts have different meanings in different regions and so, we should consider broader definitions to include the different realities and approaches to the Social and Solidarity sector”. 

 

 

What we have learned so far in our PLP:  

Based on working sessions studying special cases such as the women-only social Network “Sheroes”, here are some of the key findings and learning points we’ve come across so far :  

  • Women-led initiatives give more guarantee that women perspectives are core to the social enterprise’s mission. 
  • Even though each woman around the world is unique and has a different career path, the endeavour to thrive together through empowerment and women solidarity strengthens the resilience of SSE actors in internationalization processes.  
  • Financial sustainability is essential and it comes through the diversification of funding streams.   
  • The SSE needs to be made as and perceived as an inclusive space where gender equality can be accomplished through removing the barriers with the help of innovative policy work. 

Thanks to SOS GROUP’s recent commitment at the Generation Equality Forum to increase women inclusion in tech and innovation, we have had a lot to offer to this PLP and we were able to gain precious insights for the implementation of our own programs and internationalization process.

 


Few takeaways from the conference

  • The social economy is a driving model for change: 

The pandemic has shown that SSE has proven resilient and organizations are capable of reinventing themselves. Core values such as solidarity, equity, sustainability are crucial to face our contemporary global issues. They also rely on a general trust system that enables networks of collaboration at different levels to thrive. 

  • Collaborative policy and legal framework is essential: 

There is a crucial need to build an ecosystem where the SSE and the institutions trustfully collaborate. The legal system has to help making existing markets inclusive and equal for all. Social entrepreneurs have shown they have the recipe for the reshaping of the economy to come, so we have to put them at the centre of the tailoring of the policies to enable public institutions to foster their initiatives and help them flourish. 


 

As for now … 

We are looking forward to seeing where this major initiative led by the OECD is leading us in the challenge of supporting women-led and internationally-scaling SSE businesses. The next steps of the initiative is to build strong legal frameworks that will be useful for impact-focused businesses and then to provide feedback of the stories of women led businesses that have internationally-scaled successfully. The diversity of actors and initiatives making SOS GROUP is certainly an innovation lab in itself and we won’t fail to use it for the common good.  

 

-By Shabbaz NOC, Communications Officer at SOS GROUP International Action

ACTA VISTA IS LOOKING FOR EUROPEAN PARTNERS – CALL FOR PROPOSALS, ERASMUS + 2021, ACTION 2: Strategic partnerships for vocational education and training

You are an actor in the renovation of historical heritage and wish to commit to an inclusive and supportive project? Join us now!

ACTA VISTA is currently looking for European partners to carry out a project that aims to foster the alliance of labour market inclusion and heritage safeguarding in Europe. ACTA VISTA wants to respond to an Erasmus+ Call for Proposals, which will be published in early spring. The association aims to receive Erasmus+ funds, in the framework of Strategic partnerships for Vocational Education and Training action and needs European partners to implement its project.

We are actually looking for partners such as:

    • Three counterpart structures in other European countries which are already working on the combination of heritage and inclusion.
    • One pedagogical partner.
    • One cross-functional partner.
    • One research center.
    • One partner in charge of gathering the consortium.

ACTA VISTA in brief:

ACTA VISTA is an association specialized in professional integration and training through the preservation of endangered historical heritage sites. The association was founded in Marseille in 2002 and it supports more than 500 job seekers every year, by training them to preserve and restore historic monuments. In this way, people experiencing difficult circumstances regain confidence and set the stage for their social and professional inclusion.

What we expect to achieve:

ACTA VISTA estimates that the link between professional inclusion and the heritage sector is too little exploited in Europe. For this reason, ACTA VISTA would like to develop solutions to promote the alliance between heritage restoration and social and professional inclusion through training at the European level. We aim to foster the alliance of labour market inclusion and heritage safeguarding in Europe.

Objectives of the project

    • Fostering active inclusion through heritage in Europe;
    • Fostering heritage safeguarding through active inclusion;
    • Fostering environmentally friendly practices in heritage restoration.

Beneficiaries of the project and its main phases

The target audiences of our project are all the people and structures that work at the intersection of heritage and inclusion sectors: educators, socio-economic support workers, site managers, etc.

This project would be carried out in four main phases: exchange good practices, use these best practices to design training modules, experiment the co-constructed training modules and disseminate these good practices to other European structures active in the renovation of heritage, in European political institutions, European lobbies etc.

If your structure could be interested in the project and would like to participate, please do not hesitate to      contact:

Coline PELISSIER – European Development Manager – coline.pelissier@actavista.fr

Pâquerette DEMOTES-MAINARD – Head of Education & Culture projects paquerette.demotes@actavista.fr  

Chloé GALLIEN – Director of European Projects europe@groupe-sos.org

For more information about SOS GROUP’s Europe Team and its projects, please visit https://sos-group.org/in-europe/