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Back to school for social cooperatives!

28 October 2015 [ English ] français ]

Thirty cooperators from different parts of Europe met in Milan on 11th of October to take part at the first edition of Social Cooperatives and Social Enterprises International School. The school focused on social innovation and local development, technology innovation and impact evaluation, presenting an overview on new approaches, best practices and solutions. The event was organized by Federsolidarietà - Confcooperative, the largest organization of social cooperatives in Italy.

According to Giuseppe Guerini, President of Federsolidarietà, "the International School of Social Enterprises was created to stimulate the entrepreneurial culture of the social enterprises and social cooperatives. Welfare is constantly evolving; people’s needs and the way we deal with them are changing. Creating a place of exchange helps mutual understanding and exchange of best practices. The evolution of the welfare system in Europe has a big impact on social cooperatives and social enterprises therefore they need to fully develop their potentials of inclusion."

The school aimed to facilitate networking and growth of the activity of social cooperatives and social enterprises. The diversity of the actors present was a true asset to the school, because it allowed for everyone to bring their own experiences to the table. During the 3 sessions different themes were tackled such as social cooperatives and local development.

The theme of tools and methodologies for social impact measurement was also discussed, “social cooperatives and social enterprises need to increase the capability of analysis, and during this session recent trends of the debate on social impact finance and impact investing were taught to the participants”, noted Federsolidarietà and Confcooperative. Thanks to this session participants learned that measuring the impact is an important step for social enterprise as it can help them grow.

The third and final theme tackled was technology innovation and social cooperatives; technology is changing our societies more than ever and it also changes the way people interact. During this session, an Italian foundation specialized in training on technological issues analyzed with the participants the possibility of developing new ways of social services provision, the possible patterns of change, and how much technology can impact social cooperatives and social enterprises. Several Italian projects involving technology and social cooperatives were presented such as a project developed to connect a social cooperative and children with learning disabilities through a web platform so that they can communicate.

According to Federsolidarietà and Confcooperative, the school was very successful and the conclusions drawn from it incredibly satisfying, it provided the participants with a new innovative approach on the different discussed themes.

Watch the video resuming the event here