Current policies for the promotion of social enterprises were discussed in workshop organized by HCCI

On 16 October 2019, in the hall of Rodopi Hotel, Haskovo was held a workshop, entitled: “Presentation and analysis of the new legislation on social economy and opportunities for cooperation and synergy” within the framework of the Cross-border Cooperation Program INTERREG VA Greece- Bulgaria 2014-2020, organized under Project: "Rein FORCE SOCIAL entrepreneurial spirit through setting up innovative support structures in the cross-border territory" (SOCIAL FORCES) by the Haskovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI). The project partners are the Regional Agency for Development of Rhodopi S.A, Komotini; Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the Macedonian University of Thessaloniki, Greece and the Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”, Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Drama and Xanthi, Greece and in Haskovo, Bulgaria and the GNOSI Anaptiaxiaki, Thessaloniki and Reconstruction and Development Union, Haskovo.

Welcome speeches were given by Yancho Yanev, Chairman of the HCCI and Efstathios Kefalidis- representative of the Regional Development Agency of the Rhodopi Region, Komotini. About 40 representatives of state and local institutions, social enterprises, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders for the development of social entrepreneurship participated.

Representatives from partner organizations presented the implementation of the main project activities, good practices for social enterprises in the cross-border region of Greece – Bulgaria.

The lecturer, Dr. Marina Stefanova, presented the current policies for promoting social enterprises, outlined the goals for promoting the development of the social and solidarity economy, as a business sector and drew attention to the Methodology for assessing social added value.

At the end of the workshop, participants discussed characteristics of social entrepreneurship – as it is regulated in Bulgaria. The specific criteria that distinguish ordinary business from social entrepreneurship were outlined, namely: its social purpose, the compulsory reinvestment of profits back into business, the involvement of employees in decision-making, and more. Representatives from social enterprises shared the difficulties associated with the development of social enterprises in terms of financing, employment and demand for markets.

The project “ReinFORCE SOCIAL Entrepreneurial Spirit through setting up Innovative Support Structures in the cross-border Territory” is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the national funds of the countries participating in the Cooperation Program Greece- Bulgaria 2014-2020 INTERREG VA