RaiSE boosts competitiveness of social enterprises in Catalonia

Catalonia is the leading region in the inter-regional RaiSE project which involves 6 European countries (represented by regions and one advisory partner) and is funded by the European Commission via the Interreg Europe program. The project was kick-started in January 2017 with an event that took place in Barcelona and aims at improving public support policies for social enterprises by exchanging experience and best practices among regions. It will go on until June 2021.

The first phase of RaiSE has already been completed in June 2019. During this period, the project focused on the organisation of project meetings, events, thematic workshops, stakeholder meetings as well as the execution of 6 regional study reports and one interregional analysis. The information and good practices that were collected were presented to the national governments of the participant regions in order to formulate action plans and guidelines beneficial to social enterprises.

Catalonia has been active in the field of social economy and entrepreneurship since 2014 when the Government of Catalonia launched the first specific strategy to promote the internationalisation of the social and cooperative economy organisations. The program was recognised as best among public sector practices in 2015 at the EPSA Awards of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht. After RaiSE, the social and cooperative economy accounts for 8% of the GDP in Catalonia and it comprises 60.000 organisations (3.943 cooperatives), 5 million users and 320.000 workers, which represent 10% of the working people.

Among good practices recognised by RaiSE in Catalonia is the “Ateneus Cooperatius” Network, which aims at providing meeting points, resources and trainings for social entrepreneurs for them to collaborate and to gain experience on how to manage social enterprises. Despite being a new service, the “Ateneus Cooperatius” Network already has remarkable impacts: first of all, 131 public and private stakeholders of the social and cooperative economy are working together and have constituted a strategic alliance. Over 11.897 people have taken part in the activities of the Network, 505 organisations have received mentoring, 372 workshops have been organised, 49 social economy organisations have been constituted and 63 new jobs have been created (July 2018).

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