Proximity cooperative centres that develop projects and activities to boost the social and cooperative economy in a specific territorial demarcation.
Today the social and cooperative economy accounts for 8% of the GDP in Catalonia, it comprises 60.000 organisations (3.943 cooperatives), 5 million users and 320.000 workers, which represent 10% of the working people.
However, despite of the growing importance of this sector in Catalonia, the resources available for social and cooperative economy enterprises are quite scattered throughout different Administrations and a social entrepreneur may face difficulties in finding what he/she needs.
The aim of “Ateneus Cooperatius” is to become reference spaces and meeting points, where social entrepreneurs that belong to the same area can learn, work together and innovate, and access from a single entry point to all the available information about the social and cooperative economy in Catalonia.
“Ateneus Cooperatius” is born as a “network of networks”, that brings together 131 stakeholders of the social and cooperative economy through 14 different centres all over Catalonia. Interested stakeholders have formed a network in a territorial demarcation (the “Ateneu Cooperatiu”), with the technical and economic assistance of the Directorate-General for the Social Economy of the Government of Catalonia.
They offer a wide portfolio of services, such as information about all the resources available for the social and cooperative economy in Catalonia, Guidance and training to create a social economy enterprise or training on the management of social economy enterprises.
The cost per year of the 14 "Ateneus Cooperatius" is 3.300.000 € (maximum 215.000 € per “Ateneu” per year, except the "Ateneu" of Barcelona city that costs 290.000 €).
Evidence of success
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).
Potential for learning or transfer
Catalonia’s firm commitment with the social and cooperative economy as an entrepreneurial model to generate stable quality employment has led to the creation of the “Ateneus Cooperatius” Network. This is a pioneer and strategic project of the Government of Catalonia that allows the Catalan territorial demarcations to play the leading role in boosting the social and cooperative economy.
Thanks to this Network, the social and cooperative economy is promoted locally for the first time, promoting initiatives presented jointly by public and private stakeholders of the social economy that know the needs and opportunities of their territories very well. This joint work leads, in turn, to strengthen the social and cooperative economy in general, in order to advance together towards a social and cooperative Catalonia.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.