A municipality in Gemer establishes a pasta-producing company as a work integration enterprise, creates jobs for local female workers.
With a population of over 850 and an unemployment rate of more than 35%, the municipality of Gemer, situated in the south of the district of Revuca, ranked in 2015 as one of the least-developed districts in Slovakia. Apart from a high rate of unemployment, these district also struggle with a high percentage of long-term unemployment. Job seekers often have only a primary education, and either have never developed or have not retained work habits, which means they lack the skills and qualifications needed for the labour market and as a result, they oftentimes become unemployable.
A social enterprise would ensure these job applicants acquire skills required for the labour marked and thus find a suitable job.
The local mayor of Gemer, Zoltán Jankóšik, envisions lowering the high local unemployment rate by providing local community services to the inhabitants of the greater municipality and by creating new business opportunities. The municipal social enterprise produces pasta. The primary goal of a social enterprise is not to maximise profits at the expense of the employee but to integrate the employee into the workplace, earning profits is secondary.
The municipal enterprise operates as a social integration enterprise aimed at employing disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Social enterprises also play a socialising role since the target group is often socially excluded. Since 2018, it has employed five women who produce an average of 80kg of high quality pasta every day.
Resources to construct a new building came from the municipality's budget. Technology and equipment were obtained with the help of subsidies from a regional scheme, The wage costs for the first two years are covered by a financial contribution from national project "Path to Job Market".
Evidence of success
The municipal enterprise provides employment to 5 female workers. Most of the female workers have only primary education and had been unemployed for more than a year, for some it is their first job.
The increasing interest of consumers in local and regional products, and the supply of products to hotels and restaurants, all present further opportunities for the growth of the enterprise.
The municipality had no experience with pasta production and faced various challenges implementing the proper production procedures and selecting suppliers. After overcoming the initial obstacles, the enterprise is now fully operational and the employees are able to work without the supervision.
Potential for learning or transfer
Gemer municipal company’s replicability potential is high mainly due to its low technology and employee qualification requirements as well as the wide range of sale opportunities. However, the region size and product demand in the region must be taken into account, as this could significantly affect the sustainability of other enterprises engaged in the same business.