Methodological Approach

The project is divided in 5 coherent and logically structured work packages (WP). WP1 "Management & Coordination” refers to the financial, technical & operational management, as well as reporting to JS, quality monitoring, evaluation and capitalisation of project results. All beneficiaries will participate in WP1.
WP2 includes the Information & Publicity activities, such as the elaboration of a Communications & Dissemination of Results Plan (GNOSI), the creation of the project identity (GNOSI), the development & maintenance of the project website (ANRO), the production & dissemination of a 3-lingual informative printed & electronic material, including leaflets, USB sticks, folders, radio spot ect (All the partners).

Finally, two major Events (Open and Final) will be organized in Greece (ANRO) and Bulgaria (Haskovo). In WP3 “Need Analysis and Exchange of Experience”, a situation analysis of Social Economy and Entrepreneurship sector in the cross-border region will be elaborated (PAMAK,HCCI), as well as two regional reports on the impact and opportunities (PAMAK, University of Plovdiv) and a feasibility study on existing financial tools and legislation framework in two countries. In its early stage, the project will be based on basic level of cooperation and need analysis, for instance traditional networking including activities such as study visits, local workshops, conducting studies. Networking activities and policy making input will take place in WP3 through the organisation of local roundtables among relevant stakeholders which will take place in each partners location (Rodopi, Haskovo, Drama, Xanthi, Thessaloniki) which will produce input for the joint final workshops.

ANRO, Municipality of Haskovo, Drama Chamber, EBEX and GNOSI will be responsible for the organisation of the workshops. Finally, preparatory networking among target groups will be done through the organisation of Study Visits in Greece and Bulgaria with the participation of all the partners. In WP4"Development of Tools for detecting and follow-up the beneficiaries in the Social Economy Sector", PAMAK in cooperation with University of Plovdiv will jointly design and develop the common Professional Profile for SE Manager by setting the common skills and qualifications framework. Based on that training material will be developed both in print and e-format (PAMAK). Training activities will take place in each partners place. At least 100 people will be trained. At least 25 business plans will be developed based on trainees ideas and a joint networking workshop after training will take place in Haskovo with the participation of all partners and groups of trainees.

Finally the multifunctional webplatform will be developed as the E-Help Desk, common tool for all the beneficiaries in the cross border area which having different modules from promotion of the profiles of SEs, e-partenariat module, fora for exchange of experience and know-how, e-info desk etc will be a core strategic tool offered by the project (P8). In WP5 "Stakeholders on the Social Move", 2 joint workshops will be organised in Drama and Haskovo with the participation of key stakeholders of the sector (Drama Chamber, HCCI) from both countries. Reports from these workshops will be the input for the production of Policy Paper - Communication with Policy Making Recommedations(ANRO, all the partners). Finally P2 will be responsible for the preparation of EGTC cooperation framework which will be represented in the Final Event. The involvement of local stakeholders and the transferability of the project are paramount aspects considered by the partnership. The key innovative element of the project is that it 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.

Summing up we could say that the project’s activities as well as its different components (management and coordination, communication and dissemination, exchange of experiences dedicated to the identification and need analysis of SE sector, development of concrete tools and policy focus on the sector) are built as a logical sequence where the elements follow each other rather that overlap; that’s to say, two predefined Components (Management and Communication) are continued by core components such as exchange of experiences and need analysis that logically ends with the development of concrete tools and training activities and finally the form of Policy Recommedations and future cooperation among relative stakeholders (EGTC).

 

B.2.3 Location of Activities (Description of the area targeted by the project, location of Beneficiaries and activities, showing the geographical scope of the longer term effects (results and impacts)

The project area covers a great part of the programme's eligible area as in the consortia partipate partners which located in the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace (ANRO, EBEX, Drama Chamber) in the Region of Central Macedonia (University of Macedonia, GNOSI NGO) the wider area of the Municipality of Haskovo from the Bulgarian side. We have to mention that University of Plovdiv is registered in Plovdiv, but will implement activities entirely within the eligible area and exclusively for its benefit. It must be noted that all project activities will be organised in the cross-border area for the benefit of the target groups and of the area as a whole. In addition, Article 44 of the Implementing Regulation (EU) No 447/2014 is respected and the total amount allocated to activities outside the Programme area does not exceed 20% of the support from the Union at project level.

Although the activities of the project will take place in Rodopi, Drama, Xanthi, Thessaloniki, Haskovo, the project has an impact across the CB region, because their activities concern target groups of the entire area. Regarding the distribution of activities in each region, there is a balance in implementation in both areas. For instance, 4 technical meetings will be held in Greece and 3 in Bulgaria. Open and final events with multipliers will be organized, in each territory. Training and counselling activities will be organised also in both territories. The most important is the organisation of joint workshops with the participation of local stakeholders from both countries in order to transfer knowledge, cooperate and react in policy making level in order to produce policy papers and proposals for Social Economy and Entrepreneurship framework in EU and National level.

 

B.3.1 Lead Beneficiary and Beneficiaries' Competence (Experience, Structure, Personnel, Resources, etc.)

ANRO S.A. is a Joint-Stock Company LOCAL AUTHORITY (Local Authority Enterprise according to the 3rd article of 252 Law 3463/2006 “New Municipal and Community code”). It was founded in 1992. ANRO has a wide experience in implementing projects; specifically it creates, supports, coordinates, materialises and administrates local developmental initiatives. Through an upgraded human potential and with the use of new technologies, modern tools it is offering innovative solutions and practices, creating or adapting know-how, participating in networks aiming at the transfer of experiences. ANRO is also experienced in management and implementation of INTERREG projects either as a LP or project partner. Haskovo municipality is an administrative, economic and cultural center of the region with well-developed modern technical and social infrastructure. The Municipality of Haskovo is located among the rolling plains of south-eastern Bulgaria and occupies the western part of Haskovo district.It is strategically located between the Rhodopi and Balkan Mountain ranges.The established partnerships with twin cities in England, Austria, France, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal, USA, Russia, Serbia, Belorussia, are also valuable contributions in the respect of further disseminating project results and outputs. EBEX has extensive experience and specialization on planning and management of EU projects. It has participated in several projects in the frame of INTERREG, ADAPT, IDEQUA etc.

The Drama Chamber has vast experience in managing and implementing EU funded projects. Further more, it has extensive experience in managing and implementing ETC projects since 1992. GNOSI NGO is a non-governmental, and non-profit making, national based development agency, active in social economy issues and an experienced organisation in the implementation of EU projects and national projects funded by ESF related to SE sector.Haskovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) is a member of the unified system of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and it is founded in 1991as a non-governmental organisation, built on the principles of voluntariness, autonomy and self-financing. The members of HCCI are around 200 large, small and medium enterprises from Haskovo Region, organizations and associations, working in support of the business.The financial capacity of HCCI is formed by: single and annual property payment of its members (membership payment), donations, dividends and other legal incomes.RDU brings together representatives of business and NGOs.

Its activities are related to the development of local partnership networks with training / professional and civic / with raising the awareness and democratization of the local community by building partnerships among:NGOs, young people, business, academic and public institutions.The FESS (UniPlovdiv) is the biggest faculty of the university. At the Faculty projects over actual economical, management and social problems are being developed.FESS has completed 5 international and 28 national scientific projects. FESS has developed co-operation with experts in previous Interreg projects (like sustainable local development, social entrepreneurship and Bulgarian-Romanian cross-border co-operation).

Department of Educational and Social Policy (UOM), was established by Presidential Decrees 267/93 and 391/95, has as its overall objective to enhance the development of a) lifelong learning and adult education,b) education and training of people with disabilities or special educational needs. Partners come from different cross border regions, they are all local stakeholders and opinion leaders with strong influence on their policy makers. This variety makes the project benefit from a rich exchange of experience process thanks to a wide geographical coverage and different levels of development of social entrepreneurship sector across the cross border area.

 

B.3.2 Project management and coordination

For the optimal management of the project, a 9-member Steering Committee will be set up. Project managers from each partner will participate in the Steering Committee. 7 Technical Meetings will be held. The SC will be responsible for all decision making during the project. The main coordination and supervision of the project will be under the responsibility of ANRO and its project manager. All partners will be in continuous cooperation and communication in order to implement precisely the project's actions in the appropriate timeframe. ANRO's project manager will be in regular contact with the other partners' and he will be responsible for the evolution of the actions which will be implemented by them. The daily internal communication between partners will be carried out through email communication or through teleconference/video conference (e.g. through Skype), if needed.

Furthermore, the financial manager of ANRO will be in touch with the financial managers of all partners to collect financial data of the project (financial and progress reports).
The Project Manager of ANRO will be responsible for the communication with the Managing Authority and the Joint Secretariat of the Programme. In case of some important changes and difficulties that may arise during the project, the SC will decide jointly under the majority rule. All experts that will be chosen for the implementation of Actions, if needed for the progress reports or for the purposes of the SC, they will be called in order to provide progress reports or clarifications about their work. 
Finally, all the partners will be responsible for the commitment with the national and EU policies and legislations.

 

 During the preparation of the proposal ANRO has allocated staff to prepare the project idea and the Application Form along with the necessary documentation. All partners were in continuous contact in order to finalise the split of tasks, the deliverables of the project, the budget and the time schedule as two meetings took place during the preparatory phase one in Komotini and one in Haskovo.

The project doesn't involve any infrastructure and hence no such licensing or official approvals are needed. Regarding the equipment, preparatory work has already be done by taking specific offer in order to present a realistic budget for the required equipment in accordance with market prices.
The synthesis of the partnership in terms of field of expertise of partners, legal status and managerial capacity secure the effective implementation and management of the project’s actions, according to its objectives and scope. All partners are familiar with the context and priorities of the project as well as with the legal procedures that govern the implementation of such programmes. At this phase there is no other administrative operation needed.

ANRO, having great experience in the implementation of projects funded by EU Programmes, has prepared the management organizational framework and the project monitoring tools, which will be discussed and decided in the 1st technical (kick-off) meeting. Finally, special care will be taken regarding the project’s conformity with the national and EU regulations for calls for tender, publicity actions, the operation of databases and the handling of personal data.

 

 The project’s vision is not restricted within the time limits of its implementation. The main 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 designing the common profile for Social Manager, provide training with updated training material and setting up an innovative support structure acting as Social Entrepreneurship E- Help Desk in Greece and Bulgaria - an asset for local economic development and territorial competitiveness. that will operate as support mechanisms for unemployed people, social economy organisations (cooperatives/social enterprises, mutual societies, associations, foundations), NGOs and relative stakeholders active in the field of social economy.

These actions transcend the 24-month duration of the project.Financial sustainability can be facilitated through the regular budget and reserve finds of the partners involved All the partners are reliable, public bodies or governed by public law that could reassure the sustainability and future funding of project's results and outcomes after its completion. Precisely, the WebPlatform will remain active and updated under the responsibility of the two Universities, after the end of the project. Training material and all reports with statistical data produces from the project will be uploaded and will be freely downloaded from both the Webplatform and the project website. Project's website will remain active for at least 5 years after the end of the project. All the material produced by the project will be easily transferred not only to the wider cross border area but also to National and EU level as a good practice for strengthen social economy and produce innovative tools.

Furthermore, the project envisages creating strong cooperation bonds and promoting the dynamic of the whole region as a cross border region sharing common characteristics and potential but preserving the uniqueness of each one of the participating areas. Hence, for that reason the review for the development of a EGTC among the partners with the scope of extension of the partnership also to other countries sharing the same concerns, will foresee with the preparation of the EGTC cooperation framework, through which project's results and outcomes could be further capitalized and transferred, assuring the durability and sustainability of project results.

 

 The need for a cross border cooperation consists above all in the importance of creating a cross-cultural mentality, a new entrepreneurial attitude that includes the social perspective, for a higher quality of jobs and life. A common approach is not only needed for better results, but would be much more cost effective, than each country working on the idea on regional basis. For this reason, all project interventions have been designed to achieve common benefits of the two countries.

Hence, apart from the Dissemination activities that will address the entire cross-border area, the studies and analyses of WP3 will shed light on the status quo of the cross-border sector. Similarly, the joint work will be done in WP4 in the identification of a common profile for the SE Manager and a Webplatform will provide services for SEs and human resources of both sides of the Programme area while the forecasting presentations, the info-days and events will facilitate cross-border collaboration and the creation of cross-border partnerships. Finally the preparation of the EGTC cooperation framework for the future establishment of a EGTC will add value to this cross border cooperation and put the issue of mutual interest and cooperation for common benefits and common development, with facts, on the table.

 

 

 

The outputs of the project include the following:

  • Progress reports, expenditure verification reports, minutes from 7 technical meetings, quality plan guide and interim/external evaluation report & results capitalisation plan
  • Elaboration of a Communication and Dissemination of Results Plan
  • Project identity with a logo, slogan
  • Website
  • Printed and electronic material with 9.000 leaflets, 4.500 USB sticks with information material, 4.500 folders, 900 posters, 6 e-newsletters, 12 internet adds, and 2 radio spots
  • Organization of Info Days and joint Open and Final Event in Greece and Bulgaria respectively
  • Elaboration of a research and need analysis of the SE sector and its impact and opportunities in CB area
  • Minutes and reports from 5 local roundtables
  • Report for existing financial tools and coding of the legislation for the two countries *Design and Development of the common Professional Profile for SE Manager 

Design of Professional Profile for SE Manager

  • 4 courses in SE management, behavior, Marketing and Exports
  • Booklet for setting up and running a SE
  • 5 training seminars (100 trainees)
  • Development of 25 business plans
  • WebPlatform/E- Help Desk for SEs
  • Policy Paper with policy recommedations
  • Preparation documents for the establishment of an EGTC

 

 

 

The results which are expected during the project and on its completion could summarized as:

  • Identification and analysis the regional needs in the field of social entrepreneurship
  • Creation and implementation of an ICT tool to improve the level of entrepreneurial skills, to foster the entrepreneurial attitudes and transversal skills of individuals interested in setting up social-economy enterprise or individuals running social-economy enterprise, through exposure to business and real-life situation in the safety way
  • Identification and analysis the regional needs in the field of social entrepreneurship
  • Increasing the awareness of benefits from the social entrepreneurship sector for society and economy
  • Supplying the existing and perspective social entrepreneurs with a training programme, training material focused on development of entrepreneur's competencies to start and run social-economy enterprise;

    The specific results from the implementation of the project can be measured through the following indexes:

- The number of unemployed people that will make use of the services of the E- Help Desk
- The increase of the number of Social Entreprises in CB area
- The number of SEs and unemployed people that will be satisfied by the services offered by the E- Help Desk
- The number of new employment positions created in Social Enterprises. - The policy recommedations and proposals that will be developed and transferred to National and EU policy makers

 

 

 

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.