European Support to Social Innovation (ESSI)

European Support to Social Innovation (ESSI)

Funded by the HORIZON 2020 program of European Union and led by the Development Agency of Emilia Romagna Region of Italy (ERVET), ESSI - European Support to Social Innovation project focuses on proposing a model for the support for social innovation by regional development agencies across the Europe. In particular there are 4 main project objectives;        

1. To deliver adequate innovation support which better meets European Social Enterprises (SE) needs.

Partnership's starting point will be the assumption that a Social Enterprise, according to European Commission definition, is: "an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than make a profit for their owners or shareholders. It operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative fashion and uses its profits primarily to achieve social objectives. It is managed in an open and responsible manner and, in particular, involves employees, consumers and stakeholders affected by its commercial activities". There is no single legal form for social enterprises. Many operate in the form of social cooperatives, some are registered as private companies limited by guarantee, some are mutual, and a lot of them are no-profit-distributing organisations like provident societies, associations, voluntary organisations, charities or foundations. Despite their diversity, partners agree with E.C. classification and they will consider four fields of the SE operation: work integration, personal social services, local development of disadvantaged areas, other (e.g. recycling, environmental protection, sports, arts, culture or historical preservation, science, research and innovation, consumer protection).   

2. To discover and discuss the respective existing social innovation support approach from the consortium members, mainly focussing on the following new topics - not yet fully explored by SE:

a) SE competitiveness enhancing the use of ICT potentialities both in services deliver and at the organizational level;

b) Access to innovative finance opportunities;

c) PMI start up in social innovation with a focus on emerging challenges (e.g. migrants);

d) value chains building and internationalization of Social Enterprises.     

3. To discuss and suggest a range of new approaches on social innovation based on public and private co-design to be taken by Regional governments in their innovation support programmes and services.   

4. To ensure a wide dissemination and participation of other Regional development agencies and actors through existing European and international networks and platforms (Eurada, Errin, Enterprise Europe Network Forums).     

Project partners

  • ERVET - Emilia Romagna Valorizzazione Economica Territoria Spa (IT)
  • Ankara Kalkınma Ajansı (TR)
  • Kainuun Etu Ltd. (FI)
  • IVACE - Instituto Valenciano De La Competitividad Empresarial(ES)