ACCIÓ’s Trade & Investment worldwide offices offer personalised consultancy services for social enterprises to facilitate their internationalisation process.
The purpose of the service “Aracoop Internacional” is to carry out an internationalisation project for a social enterprise in a specific market, by introducing the enterprise in a new market or by deepening in the internationalisation strategy when the enterprise is already introduced in a market. The tool that ACCIÓ uses to reach this purpose are the 40 ACCIÓ’s Trade & Investment worldwide offices, which help Catalan enterprises to do business in 110 countries. ACCIÓ has an own expert team in each office that offers personalised consultancy services to Catalan enterprises and that acts as an extension of the company.
The internationalisation project is materialised in an Action Plan, that lasts 4 months and that may include one or more of the following services: identification and selection of the most appropriate commercialisation channels, elaboration of market studies, research of distributors and partners in the new market, detection of final customers, staff selection in the chosen market, and enterprise implementation abroad.
The service is for enterprises of the social economy based in Catalonia: cooperatives, foundations and associations with economic activity, labour societies, mutual societies, insertion companies, special employment centres and agricultural transformation societies. It is necessary that the applicant company has its product or service consolidated in the market and in a position to start an internationalisation project.
The maximum cost per year is 192.000 €: 80 € labour cost per hour, 120 hours per project, 9.600 € per project, 20 internationalisation projects per year.
Social enterprises don't pay anything. It is a service subsidised by the Directorate-General for the Social Economy and ACCIÓ.
Evidence of success
The main drawbacks that Catalan social enterprises identify are competitiveness and the harsh conditions of the market. Thanks to "Aracoop Internacional", 22 social enterprises have made internationalisation projects in Latin America, Africa and European markets, most of them about the identification and selection of commercialisation channels and the elaboration of market studies. Some projects have been about the identification of European calls and the research of European funding.
Potential for learning or transfer
“Aracoop Internacional” is a pioneer service in helping social enterprises to open to the world. This Good Practice could be easily transferred to regions dealing with internationalisation of social enterprises, if they have worldwide offices like ACCIÓ has. However, even if regions don’t have this network of offices, the service could be boosted from external consultancy services. Besides, one of the goals of RaiSE is to conduce to a better governance, engaging multiple stakeholders in policy development and implementation, and this is another reason to consider “Aracoop Internacional” a Good Practice: it was born thanks to the need of coordination among two stakeholders that were dealing with social economy promotion (Directorate-General for the Social Economy and ACCIÓ), who realised that they would duplicate their services if they didn’t work together.
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