MESSE kicked off in Venice on April 2012 with a two days meeting and a press conference organized by the lead partner, the Veneto Region.
In the first half period of the project implementation, activities have been based on basic level of cooperation and PPs were involved in traditional networking including activities such as study visits, thematic seminars, joint interregional conferences, development of publicity materials. To draw the public attention towards the project aims and activities, the partnership has dedicated many efforts during the project life to communication and publicity: an ad hoc Communication & Mass Media Office (CMMO) was created to play a decisive role in optimizing the results in such this activities. 4 Interregional Thematic Conference are planned within the project and already 3 took place:
- October 2012 ,Hungary, on the theme “Social Cooperation in times of crisis”;
- March 2013, Romania, on the theme “Social Entrepreneurship: the challenge of a big idea to become successful - the importance of training in social enterprises”;
- July 2014, Bulgaria, on the theme “Supportive structure for social enterprises development”;
- September 2014, Italy, project final conference on the theme “Social enterprises added value in the social-economic context”.
Furthermore the CMMO horizontally supervised and supported the project’s promotion strategy and gives support to PPs while preparing the main project publicity materials such as videos, newsletters, publications, project and conference brochures, articles to be published on the project website (www. messe-project.eu).
Afterwards, the project focused on a higher degree of cooperation, by exchanging winning experiences (named Good Practices) in the field of social entrepreneurship and developing the MESSE Mentoring System and MESSE Net platform.
Almost 40 GPs across 9 EU regions have been identified and deepened in occasion of 7 study visit across Europe: Italy (April 2012), Hungary (October 2012), Romania (march 2013), Sweden (May 2013), UK (July 2013) Spain (September 2013), Greece (November 2013), Germany (February 2014).
The GP selected have been reviewed and included in a useful publication that have been helping partners, mentors and main stakeholders in organizing the GPs importing procedure. During the first semester of 2014 bilateral transfer meetings between partners have been organized to exchange experiences and knowledge about winning experiences of social entrepreneurship and public policies in support of its growth. The exchange process will last till the end of the project since, beside on-the-spot visits, contacts between partners and GPs representatives are still on-going. The overall aim is to ensure that the project exchange of experiences inspires policies improvement in the partner regions in a long term perspective. In 2014 MESSE partners are involved both on the exchange of experiences and on the MESSE Net pilot action implementation. The overall aim of this pilot action is to pilot well designed mentoring’ services addressing SE in their start-up or internationalization phase through an Internet platform, which is on line from June 2014. The MESSE Net contains a census of all the social enterprises which have been involved in the project activities and all the umbrella organization which supports partners in enhancing synergies among enterprises and boost social entrepreneurship policy and models.
It will soon also provide a space for sharing information between companies, facilitate the dissemination and publication of funding opportunities for social enterprises and provide a collaborative space for the development of new interregional initiatives thanks to the MESSE Mentor activity.
Mentors have been appointed in each partner region and they are at anyone disposal to give assistance on start-up of social enterprises and internationalization of existing ones. The MESSE Mentor training kit, elaborated by partners during the first half of 2014, gave them further guide to provide well designed services to social organizations within the project framework. Partners are now working on promoting MESSE Net and its services through the organization of Awareness Raising Animation Workshops and implementing different strategies to involved social enterprises in the project pilot action.