Archive of European Projects

New Crops - Social entrepreneurship to create new opportunities for socially excluded in rural areas
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 30 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Rural areas are facing a higher risk of poverty, and significant problems in access to adequate education and training, with agriculture still significant in terms of employment, a sector affected by low incomes, more so given the problems of fragmentation of farms, determinant of poverty and exclusion for farmers and their families, and seasonality of work. A vital source of growth and jobs is the social economy sector, which may include people with poor qualifications or reduced work capacity and provide the social services not produced by the market in areas without mainstream companies and employers. Social and coop entrerpises play a key role in involving rural inhabitants as European citizens more fully in society as stakeholders, i.e. workers, volunteers and users of these entreprises, by rule involved in their management. In order to access opportunities created by various EU policies that can have a positive influence on poverty of rural areas, enterprises and inhabitants of rural areas need and adequate access to training and advise services. The project will contribute to the development of the social economy in rural areas through support for cooperatives and reintegration enterprises, the encouragement to start up such enterprises and promotion of this sustainable model of social enterprises. The objectives are to design and develop innovative training and coaching materials for start-up and management of social enterprises and coops in rural areas and alternative learning approaches that facilitate inclusion of marginalised citizens into entrepreneurship training activities, and to develop capacity of training organisations by providing them adequate tools for quality support to these enterprises, and thus improve the management of these entreprises. Project results are 40 best practices of social entreprises and coops identified and promoted, with the most successful business models documented into case studies for training purposes, new Training materials developed – a general course materials on start-up and management of social enterprises and coops, one module on farmers groups coops, one for work integration and social services social coops, one for other rural social entrerpises and coops (micro-credit, utilities and consumer social enterprises) and one on green social enterprises based on collective experience sharing from 4 member state, 500 Trainers, facilitators and advisers for community social enterprises and coops with access to newly produced materials - an European toolkit for coops and social enterprises start-ups in rural areas available at both the national (in hard copies) and European level (online), at least 1000 social enterprise practitioners able to use tools from the project publications - Guides for starting up and managing social enterprises and farmers coops and many more through the publications on-line, 144 End-users directly involved through pilot dissemination workshops - 124 social entreprise practitioners from rural areas and 20 farmers and rural disadvantaged people, over 100 Policymakers and leaders in the cooperative & social enterprise systems in the participating countries informed, and one video Learning material- a film the Story of a New Crop on coops and social enterprises in rural Europe, at least 25 trainers, advisers specialising social enterprise & cooperative management informed about practices and policies in other member states and EU level and actively sharing their knowledge and experience for the development of a European training platform for this sector. The longer term impact will be an improved training capacity of partner organisations, enriched with the knowledge and practical info resulted through this programme, information which is not currently available. In addition target groups social enterprises and coops, as well as start-up groups that want to initiate such enterprises in the participating countries will have the open end resources available beyond the life of the project: Guides as hands-on, do-it-yourself tools with practical info for start-up and management of such enterprises. Other training providers will have access to the European training toolkit that will include the a selection of the materials produces and will be also available on-line. The film on farmers’ coops and social enterprises will contribute to raising awareness about this form of enterprise and the research products – the cases studies and the country reports will improve existing information on social entreprises and coops in the various EU countries among the academic community and to decision makers. The coop and social enterprise networks in the participating countries as well as national and European policy makers will benefit of national and comparative research reports on the legal, fiscal and policy frameworks, as well as the support system for such enterprises necessary for their development and policy recommendations.
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