This is a moment for social economy enterprises to demonstrate European values at a time when the EU is facing huge challenges, said Ariane Rodert, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), who opened the third European Day of Social Economy Enterprises (SEEs). The event, which took place on 4 June at the EESC building in Brussels, focused on how to scale up the social economy and showcased innovative social entrepreneurs.
Today, the social economy provides paid employment for 6.3% of the working population, which amounts to 13.6 million paid jobs in the European Union. Social entrepreneurs and policymakers emphasised that it is time for the sector to scale up.
The speakers stressed that the social economy in Europe is often underestimated in terms of its potential for economic development and social transformation and drew attention to the role that social economy enterprises could potentially play at international level, especially in regions with huge unemployment like the Balkans or in African countries.
The event was enriched with four examples of innovative and successful SEEs, which have proved that scaling up is possible in the social economy, and three participatory workshops, which focused on gender equality in SEEs, the role of clusters and possibilities for scaling up.
EU policymakers agreed that today is the right moment for the social economy to scale up but encouraged people not to forget the real foundation of the social economy, which is cooperation and solidarity. (ia)