Results of the 1st National Social Entrepreneurship Conference


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Results of the 1st National Social Entrepreneurship Conference

  1. 1. The 1st Congress of Social Entrepreneurship in Greece titled "Doing business the other way» and subtitled “Social Enterprises as a development tool” took place in Athens on 13 November 2013 from the Development Partnership " PROSVASIS ", in the conference room "ERMIS" of the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Athens, under the auspices of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness. The conference was completed with great success. More than 600 visitors attended the conference among whom were young, social and non-social entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers who acquired knowledge and gain information about the principles, the content, the tools and the best practices of the social entrepreneurship. The participants of the conference were renowned personalities of the field of Social Entrepreneurship. Introductory Part The introductory part of the Congress was framed by the welcoming speeches of: Marianna Moschou , the President of the Development Partnership “PROSVASIS” and ELEPAP: Mrs Moschou indicated the high importance of the social entrepreneurship as a tool/ way to struggle the exclusion of the vulnerable groups so as to be integrated into the society and the labour market. As Mrs Moschou specified, the social entrepreneurship is a "reality in Europe" and from now and then it becomes a new emerging trend in Greece. It is a form of entrepreneurship that apart from the profit it also offers social goodwill. Paulos Thomoglou, Vice-President of the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Athens : Mr Thomoglou pointed out that the development of the social entrepreneurship which is a new innovative development tool that can potentially solve problems like unemployment and social
  2. 2. exclusion is imperative for Greece this period of time when the whole country suffers from the problems of the economic crisis. The sector of the Social Entrepreneurship strives to offer valuable solutions to the problems of the society while strengthening the regional development. The social entrepreneurship has already lead to surprising results in Denmark, France, Belgium and German. Greece, as Mr Thomoglou mentioned, should take the knowledge from the past experience of these countries and with the mentoring of the public and the private sector can establish socially oriented organizations. Serafeim Tsokas , General Secretary of Ministry of Development and Competitiveness : “Doing Business the other way… lets examine the entrepreneurship from its social aspect ”, Mr Tsokas stated. The general secretary of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness referred to the new aspect of business, the Social Entrepreneurship that reflects the power of the social action. It is the key to innovation and sustainable development while promoting social solidarity and cohesion. Anna Dallaporta , General Secretary of Management of European Funds: Mrs Dallaporta identified the advantages that stems from the development of the social entrepreneurship in national, regional and local level. She also pointed out the need for consolidation of the social business as a way to address social problems in Greece. Furthermore, she mentioned that the strategic plan for the development of the social entrepreneurship that was built up by the Secretariat for Community Resources of the Ministry of Labor in cooperation with experienced Greek and foreign experts have already begun to be applied. Finally, she pinpointed the conditions of its effective implementation. Effie Mpekou, General Secretary of Social Welfare: Mrs Mpekou highlighted the vital need of the development of the social entrepreneurship due to its potential to deal with serious social problems. This period of time, as she claimed, any operations that contribute to social cohesion are vital. The protection of the family, the children and the elderly, as well as the need of tackling the social exclusion should be the main subject of the social entrepreneurship. Part 1: The international expertise and the Greek practices
  3. 3. In the first part of the Conference “Doing Business the other way”, the speakers made reference to the international momentum of the social entrepreneurship and how this form of business can be successfully applied in Greece. Arnaud Mourot , the representative of Ashoka- the widest network of social entrepreneurs in the world, opened up with his speech the main part of the Congress. Mr Mourot pointed out that efforts are being held for the expansion of the Ashoka Network also in Greece, because, as he stated, Greece has the prospects to establish a new ecosystem of social entrepreneurs in Europe. As he pointed out, the social entrepreneurship cannot completely solve the issues of the economic crisis, but it can be a part of the solution. It can promote innovative ideas and it can inspire politicians, enterprises and organizations to cooperate in order to create new, hybrid models of entrepreneurship. Mr Mourot referred to the characteristics that a social entrepreneur should have today. First of all, he should be able to revise his way of thinking, to identify the core of the problem and to find effective solutions proposing new and efficient models. Another important feature is the ability to identify the critical part of the society that needs help and to give a comprehensive solution. Simultaneously, it is substantial to seek for partnerships with organizations of the private sector that can take advantages from his idea. As Mr Mourot pointed out the new trend in social businesses is the usage of the technology and as a result the coordination of the social entrepreneurs with the hi-tech entrepreneurs. These two types of entrepreneurs have in common many things; they both think innovatively, they have both new ideas and they are keen on sharing their innovations. Mr Mourot stated that if the new generation focuses on the social entrepreneurship, it can achieve social change. It is no coincidence that more and more academics and universities are turning their attention to the field of social entrepreneurship. In the best business schools of the world there are programs aiming to initiate the students to change the social reality. It is still very hopeful that today the majority of the children are not keen on discovering the new "Google", but to follow a career path oriented to the society. For this reason, it is beneficial to organize activities that will introduce these ideas to children aged between 12-20 years. It would also be useful to approach young ages that can easily develop competences such as teamwork, empathy and leadership. The secret of the social entrepreneurship is the cooperation of the public sector, the civil society, the private enterprises and the social enterprises. Each of them can speak different languages, work in a particular way and focus on different goals and objectives, but only together can make a substantial difference! The second speaker of the first part was Mr Carlo Borzaga , Professor of Political Economy at the University of Economics in Trento and President of the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Entreprises (EURICSE). Mr Borzaga analyzed the historical development of the social entrepreneurship. Firstly, he referred to the weakness of developing social enterprises in the past due to the welfare state that could not afford the
  4. 4. services because of the absence of the sufficient public resources and secondly because of the prioritization of other needs. Social entrepreneurship stemmed from charitable organizations that cater to the needs of the society to acquire a more entrepreneurial dimension. Thus, the concept of social enterprise was introduced as a way to recognize social entrepreneurship as an economic indicator. Mr Borzaga also elaborated on the concept of social enterprise, and he presented relevant data of the development of social enterprises in Italy and the United Kingdom. Finally, he made reference to the critical points of success as they have been identified through the existing experience in the field of social entrepreneurship. Mr Malte Arhelger , representative of the General Secretariat of the Greens focused his speech on the need to improve the conditions for the development of the social entrepreneurship through the appropriate framework and the essential tools. According to the European Parliament, it is imperative to support the social entrepreneurship by improving the legal framework of the social entrepreneurship, by sharing information through seminars and conferences, by mapping the area of the social business, by adopting the best practices, and finally, by using an open method of co-operation between the countries. Greece, as Mr Arheger emphasized, can effectively develop social business if it faces the existing obstacles by adapting the legal and institutional framework for the development of this form of entrepreneurship in the Greek reality. Mr Ioakeimidis as President of the Group of Experts on Social Entrepreneurship in the European Commission briefly stated the actions and the initiatives of the Commission on matters of social entrepreneurship from 1989 since now. He pointed out that the European Commission wish to promote a legal and an administrative framework in both National and European level. This framework will take into account the peculiarities of the social economy, and will help the countries to facilitate the procedures of the development of the social entrepreneurship through three key pillars of action which focus on the essential financial tools, the legal counselling and mentoring. Mr Vorloou , in the beginning of his speech, referred to the principles of the social economy, the concept of the social enterprises, the social innovation and the social franchising. His speech highlighted the vision of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness; the economic development in conjunction with the social cohesion at local and regional level. The aim of the Ministry, as Mr Vorloou stated, is the immediate activation of the ecosystem of social economy with the creation of a favorable environment for growth. In this context it is essential to remove the barriers that the Ministry has already diagnosed by developing a supportive strategic plan that can ensure the start-up capital and the required financial services. This plan will be based on specific lines that Mr Vorloou numbered in his speech.
  5. 5. Part 2: Social entrepreneurship development tools The second part of the Conference “Doing Business the other way” was based on the development of the tools of a social enterprise. In this section, the speakers explained the tools required in order to start-up a social enterprise in an effective way. One of the key parameters that will help a business to stand out today is Innovation, as Mrs Protogerou , researcher at NTUA, analyzed. A research for the new entrepreneurship conducted on a sample of 4.000 firms in 10 European countries including Greece indicated that new businesses have already realized the importance of innovation. 11% of the sample applies innovation by introducing new services and products, which are new not only at national level but also globally. Valuable players who can contribute to the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship, and therefore to the social entrepreneurship, are the educational institutions, because through their research may arise new ideas that will support Greece in terms of economic and social welfare especially at this critical period of time. Another equally important tool for the social entrepreneurship is the Corporate Design of a company, which was analyzed by Mr Krikela , who has a long course in the consulting sector. As he stated, the operational planning is the antidote to the mortality of the new businesses. In this context, a business plan should be based on the following steps: Motivation - Idea - Vision - Ecosystem - Planning – Start-up. As far as the incentives of the social entrepreneurs are concerned, it is important for them to examine how to achieve alignment of the corporate operations among social and business goodwill. The idea can occur at any time enough to be achievable. At this point similar ideas of the past should be assessed in terms of success or failure and then, to be notified in order to have their popularity estimated. Apart from the notification of the idea, there must be a vision to inspire the others to support it. As Mr Krikelas pointed out, another important factor for the success of a social enterprise are the interactions arising from the ecosystem. The ecosystem of a Koin.S.Ep. is prosperous -including financial, human, intellectual and social capital, opinion makers, private sector businesses, other Koin.S.Ep. and customers. Hence, the social entrepreneurs must find the proper way to approach each of them. Finally, as far as the business plan of a social enterprise is concerned, it is based on the same logic as private company’s plans with the only difference that a social enterprise should take into account
  6. 6. both business and social indicators. The last step before launching a social business is the integration of the bureaucratic procedures and the decision of the social entrepreneur to perform with passion, enthusiasm, communication, motivation, honesty, teamwork, understanding, commitment, hard work and the increment of sales volume, and not to be afraid to fail. The next tool analyzed by Mrs Sandra Skondra - Elliot , a founding member of the Centre of Volunteer Managers in Greece is sales. Mrs Elliot presented an approach that looks upon the sales as a tool of social marketing and therefore as a weapon of social enterprises. The social marketing aims to make behavioural changes oriented in social objectives, and not to the unilateral economic development benefits. The known SWOT analysis- Strengthens, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats-in the case of a social enterprise differs from the SWOT analysis applied in the private sector, due to the peculiarities of the social enterprises. A social enterprise aims at social goodwill and takes moral reward (Powers). It has a low budget (Weakness). It relies on solidarity stemmed from the ecosystem, it is supported by the EU programs and flexible legal frameworks, and the society is positively adjacent to its attempts (Opportunities). Finally, a social enterprise should strive to offer qualitative products and services because in any other case it cannot maintain its clientele (Threats). Mrs Zafeiropoulou , from the academic sector, Fellow Researcher on Social Entrepreneurship at Brunel University and Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship at Seattle University-City College in Athens, introduced new forms of social networking and intergroup relationships as tools for growth and expansion of a social enterprise. There are four systems which affect the creation of social enterprises: political and social structures and networking, the profiles of the social entrepreneurs and the social innovation. As Mrs Zafeiropoulou claimed, the devotion and the networking are imperative for the effective development of a social enterprise. Within these networks multiple independent factors are connected with commercial relations. These factors can be individuals, companies and business segments that have specific skills and tasks. The interaction of the businesses depends heavily on their networks. Their position within the network will determine the launching of a new enterprise and the potential intergroup partnerships and how they will be successful or unsuccessful. Networks are essential because they give social entrepreneurs resources (financial resources [donations, grants, and sponsorships], human resources [volunteers, part-time staff, pro bono executives etc.], physical and technical resources [space, electricity, and equipment], education, social capital, etc. Another tool of the social entrepreneurship was presented by Mr Pteroudis , the representative of the Pagkritia Cooperative Bank. Specifically, Mr. Pteroudis referred to loans (micro-financing). The European Investment Fund provides funding to banks to support startups of social enterprises and small businesses. Pagkritia Cooperative Bank, as Mr Pteroudis
  7. 7. mentioned, has adopted effective developing practices, as the promotion of Cretan products from the producers to the local hotels. Similar efforts were made in order to achieve direct partnerships between producers and supermarkets, and to provide business financing to quality labels. Part 3: Social Entrepreneurship Best Practices In the third and final part of the conference, good practices of social entrepreneurship from the past, present and future were presented. The first speaker of the third part was Mrs Chiara Maule, representative of the Gruppo Cooperativo CGM of Italy. Mrs Maule pointed out the importance of networking in social entrepreneurship and also in the successful course of the social enterprises. She presented a very interesting idea for capital growth in a social enterprise: social bonds financed by citizens. She also extensively referred to the evolution of the CGM from its beginning and she highlighted that the prerequisite for the sustainability of an organization is the alignment of the original vision to the contemporary life, the combination of the innovation with the social impact, and the profit with social promotion. Afterwards, Mr Gkoutidis the representative of the Koi.SPE “TOPSY of Dodecanese” , one of the most successful Koi.SPE that counts 435 members today presented the actions of the enterprise. Koi.SPE are units of mental health with organizational and administrative autonomy which operate in accordance with the provisions of civil partnerships. Among the activities of this Koi.SPE is the production of agricultural products, confectionary, honey standardization, alternative tourism and vocational training center and their main objectives of the social reciprocity and strengthen of the local economy. Mrs Vraka , from “Amphitrite” Koin.S.Ep. demostrated their own idea that gradually becomes practice. The Amphitrite Koin.S.Ep. chooses to invest in the sector of accessible tourism, an international market with major quantitative and qualitative characteristics. The group Amphitrite identified this field that is untapped in Greece. The Amphitrite Koin.S.Ep. aims to attract two types of customers, the inbound tourism through the online platform which will have the appropriate labeling according to the reviewed accessibility,
  8. 8. and also the domestic firms of the tourism sector through consulting, training, design consultancy services and certification. Mrs Kasdagli co-founder of the Koin.S.Ep. “Women on Top ”, presented the network Women on Top that enables women to receive free advice and guidance from women mentors. The Koin.S.Ep. Women on Top undertakes conferences and enables the networking among women working in different fields. The important advantage of this idea is that women with past experience offer mentoring to whom are keen on following the same career path. Priority is given to the right "combination" of women. There are no geographical restrictions, as the “appointments” between the participants are made via Internet. Therefore women who live in different cities or different countries can join the network. The next spokesman was Mr Gerolymatos , the representative of the Koin.S.Ep. “Parents from Halandri Municipality” . This Koin.S.Ep. exemplifies a social enterprise that has identified the gap in the social needs of the local community and it struggles to cover it. The need for parents in Halandri to find a solution for keeping their children while the parents are working coincided with the application of the law on social enterprises in 2011. As a result, they inspired the structure of a social enterprise fit in their need. They were thinking of organizing a nursery that would provide a nice environment for their children and good salaries to the teachers. But this idea required capital that nobody had. Analyzing the statistics of the principality of Halandri, they found that Halandri is one of the regions of Greece with the highest success rates in higher education. This was the reason that made them to establish an institution for the secondary education, where parents will pay less than in a private tutorial, while teachers are paid much better than in a private tutorial and the raised funds would support the operations of the nursery. The last part of this section "Best Practices for Tomorrow" opened by Mr Koyklis , from “Agri-food” Koin.S.Ep. of Larissa. The company was founded through the program "Become a farmer". The main activity of the enterprise is the marketing of the agricultural production derived from its members through environmental friendly methods. This will create a unique label for the products of the cooperative in order to be recognizable. Hence, the customers know exactly what they purchase and from whom. Fresh products will be collected
  9. 9. on a weekly basis and they will be distributed to consumers via Internet at specific points that will be allocated by the municipalities. Mrs Papadopoulou from the Koin.S.Ep. “Goldsmith House of Stemnitsa ” presented their own effort. A goldsmith school already operates in Stemnitsa. It is one of the best of its kind, which also hosts students from abroad. Students have repeatedly been awarded in several national and European competitions. The idea of the Koin.S.Ep. is based on creativity, vision, aspirations and skills of students and with the ultimate aim of promoting the past habits and actively engaging the existing students. Furthermore, it was imperative to support the existing educational activities of the school and to meet the deficit. In the context of these activities, the enterprise will organize conferences, workshops, meetings, seminars for traditional jewelry, while jewelry manufactured in School can be sold in Greece and abroad. The Koin.S.Ep. called “Little Giants” was presented by Mrs Saba, who explained that the idea was based on two pillars. On the one hand, there are children excluded from the art world, children from poor families and neighborhoods, and on the other hand there are many unemployed artists. Hence, the members of the enterprise were inspired from this fact and decided to create free art events suitable for children, with the slogan "no child should be excluded from art." The children pay by giving candies or paintings in order to realize that art is worth. Additionally, artistic performances are interactively held so as to learn to children about art with an experiential way. The income derived from the activities carried out in private schools is a way to raise the funds required for the daily operations. The objective of the Koin.S.Ep. “Galenos” presented by Mrs Mitrika is to promote the social care, particularly for those aged over 50 years. In the summer of 2013, a year after the founding of Koin.S.Ep., the enterprise set up the operation of 6 municipal clinics and 3 units within an Open Care Centre, which offers primary and preventive health care, health education, and medical care for the elderly and disabled people. There is also the prospect of the usage of mobile units for those people who can not move because of chronic diseases. The objective is to provide free medical services. This can be achieved by producing and selling innovative therapeutic products in Greece and abroad, in order to strengthen the capital of Koin.S.Ep. Furthermore, this enterprise aims to increase the number of its employees and to expand its collaboration with other organizations.
  10. 10. Mr Lagos, the representative of the Koin.S.Ep. “Mainalo” presented its innovative, awardwinner and popular in the international media idea. The Koin.S.Ep. aimed at cleaning the forest Mainalo so as to protect it from fire while the leaves will turn into pellet in a unit where scientists and farmers will be employed. The ultimate goal of the enterprise is the construction of a center for environmental education. The Koin.S.Ep. currently faces several bureaucratic problems, but its members believe that will surpass the obstacles and in the near future their action will be a great example for other similar efforts in the Greek region. Finally, the representative of “Kalloni – Kellia” Koin.S.Ep., Mr Politopoulos referred to the inspiration of the idea of recycling in the island of Tinos, how was practice and what is the existing status. The household garbage can offer reciprocal benefits to society through a different and innovative model of recycling. The islanders involved in this action can offer their waste in the Koin.S.Ep. and then can be paid for their participation. As a result many loads turn to net proceed and simultaneously the residents build environmental awareness by learning what is recyclable and what is not. The Koin.S.Ep. collects 4.3 tons per day, equivalent to 55-60 % of the recyclable products of the island. It is estimated that in three years time the enterprise will collect 70% of the recyclable trash. The idea can become perfectly feasible to other islands, where the majority of waste derived from household activities and therefore, the screening is very easy.