The CB area includes some of the most deprived and isolated communities of both countries, as manifested by rising poverty rates and high unemployment rates, as a consequence of this labor market breakdown, the CB area exhibits depopulation trends. The prevailing economic recession and fiscal crisis across both sides of the border have further intensified public and private sector disinvestment in social services, further weakening the delivery and sustainability of social welfare policy in the CB area aimed at resolving poverty and social exclusion problems. Also the characteristics of the production system combined with the low education levels and a mismatch between labor demand and supply have led to high unemployment (mainly in the Greek part), poverty and social exclusion.Social enterprises are an important driver for inclusive growth and play a key role in tackling current economic and environmental challenges, according to a report published by EU Commission.
The overall objective of the project is to reinforce the effectiveness of the regional policies and local initiatives in promoting and supporting social entrepreneurship through the designing of common activities fostering awareness of social economy and cooperation for setting up an innovative support structure acting as Social Entrepreneurship E- Help Desk in Greece and Bulgaria, as an asset for local economic development and territorial competitiveness. Also, will encourage knowledge transfer for the social enterprises, in order to familiarize themselves with good management and marketing, examples and exchange of information, having knowledge of the specifics of other social enterprises.
Expected results of the project also refer to an increased capacity of the policy makers and stakeholders in detecting the needs of social enterprises in their territories, thus favoring a local sustainable development.The main outputs of the project which consist the its innovative character are a roadmap and joint guidelines for setting up and running an innovative social enterprise, the identification of the common profile framework for SE's Manager and Entrepreneur and the development of a multifunctional WebPlatform which will operate as the joint E-Help Desk for SEs. Starting from different level of competences and experiences, the partners intend to exchange experiences, methods and tools which have proved successful in strengthening the economic viability and entrepreneurial spirit of the SEs, and undertake actions to foster SEs networking across the border area.
The key innovative element of the project which will make the difference from other initiatives is the fact that this project puts a policy focus on the social economy sector in an interregional, cross border perspective. For this reason, the partnership has identified the need for joint action and exchange of experiences among them with different strengths and needs so they could all actively learn from each other.