Competitiveness is a matter of skills: in Emilia-Romagna a regional call for social enterprises

The Emilia-Romagna Region has opened a public call financed through the European Social Fund (ESF) for social enterprises that intend to foster their managerial skills. The intervention is one of the main results obtained with the contribution of the RaiSE Interreg Europe project, whose objective is to improve regional policy tools for the competitiveness and sustainability of social enterprises.

How to face the emerging social and economic issues that affect our societies?  

The RaiSE Interreg Europe project partners consider social innovation a strategic answer to this question and social enterprises its main interpreters.

During the first phase of the project (2017-2019), the partners investigated their respective regional ecosystems of social economy. The focus was on social enterprises competitiveness and the challenges they face in the efforts to keep guaranteeing high-levels of employment and social inclusion of disadvantaged people.  

The Emilia-Romagna regional agency ART-ER Attractiveness Research Territory, as partner of the project, carried out research activities and a gap analysis involving key regional stakeholders and interviewing the managers of regional social enterprises. The need to strengthen managerial skills of the companies and support them in becoming more competitive clearly emerged.  

Lessons learnt from partners’ experiences and from research activities led ART-ER and Emilia-Romagna Region to draft a Regional Action Plan with the purpose to improve Regional Operational Plans of Structural Funds as tools of the regional policies to foster the competitiveness and sustainability of social enterprises.

The first action of Emilia-Romagna Action Plan, to be implemented in project’s second phase (2019-2021), concerned the launch of a specific call for tender aimed to the training of social enterprises’ managers.

In November 2019, the Service Programming of Educational Activities, Training, Employment and Knowledge of the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Managing Authority of the European Social Fund has opened the call Skills for Social Innovation. Emilia-Romagna Region makes available 1,5 million euros for empowering social and non-social enterprises with the skills to innovate their know how, products and services and respond to people's new needs.  

Two kind of operations are admitted: continuous training courses for the acquisition of social entrepreneurship’s skills and non-course training actions aimed at transferring the acquired skills into the organizational contexts.

This action represents an important result for the RaiSE project and for ART-ER. For the first time, social enterprises are specifically mentioned as recipients of funds for increasing their competitiveness through skills development. As a goal of RaiSE, the call for tenders also encourages socio-economic partnerships as a constant interaction between multiple stakeholders and between both profit and non-profit companies. 

Deadline for submitting proposals is 04/02/2020.  

Stay tuned for next steps of RaiSE Action Plan!