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Bulgaria, promoting social entrepreneurship for people with disabilities

26 March 2013 [ English ] français ]

Cooperatives and social enterprises from several European countries and representatives from the European Union have met in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to participate in the European Forum on Social Entrepreneurship held from 21st to 24th March. Over 5.000 visitors from Italy, Romania, Norway, Malta, Serbia and Belgium exchanged their experiences with their Bulgarian colleagues in the second European Fair of Social Enterprises and Cooperatives for People with Disabilities. Representatives from the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Confederation of Cooperatives in Industry and Services (CECOP) have contributed to those events.

Participants could immerse themselves in the reality of social cooperation in Europe through the 85 enterprises and organizations from all around Europe that have participated in the fair for Social Enterprises and Cooperatives of Persons with Disabilities. Alessio Duchini, president of the cooperative TERRAROSSA SAC and worker-member of Mediacoop, an Italian cooperative active in the IT industry, participated in the fair with Irecoop Toscana. “Since we have opened an enterprise in Bulgaria, these meetings allow us to better understand the market of this country”, says Alessio Duchini.

The forum has held the conference “Social Entrepreneurship: the basis for sustainable growth” that also included the participation of the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy in Bulgaria, Ivanka Shalapatova, allowed to bring together the different European policies aiming to promote social economy enterprises, with a particular emphasis on cooperatives. Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CECOP has underlined the economic potential of social cooperatives in Europe and has urged public authorities to invest in this business model. Social cooperatives from the CECOP network employ 300.000 people, including more than 30.000 disadvantaged workers.

CECOP participated actively in the conferences and in the fair; the recently produced documentary “Together: how cooperatives show resilience to the crisis” was screened for the first time in Bulgarian. The European Forum on Social Entrepreneurship was organized, among others, by the National Union of Worker Producers Cooperatives (member of CECOP), the Bulgarian Agency for Disabled People and CECOP; it was co-financed by the European Commission.

News related:
- Social and work integration through the production of children’s clothes in Bulgaria

- Laszlo Andor opened the first European Fair of Social Enterprises and Cooperatives for People with Disabilities

Check some of the best moments here:


  • Speech of Bruno Roelants, Secretary general of CECOP for the ceremony of (...)
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  • Maryle Farrugia Degabriele, director of Koperattivi Malta, organisation (...)
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  • Several cooperatives and national confederations of cooperatives from all (...)
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  • Members of the italian cooperatives TERRAROSSA SAC and Mediacoop, (...)
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