Study Visit in East Sweden Region – 20-21th May 2013
A brief showcasing of the social system as well as ideas on how enlarge the working market by stimulating work integrated social enterprises (WISES).
The participants in MESSE project were arriving at Linköping on Monday evening the 20th of May 2013. They came to a city showing itself at its best, sunny and in spring bloom. On the 21th the participants woke up to a day full of activities in Norrköping, carried out in pouring rain. A rain that luckily faded away, giving room for some Nordic light and a glance of sunshine. Wednesday the sun was back, making the day in Linköping easy going. It is difficult to describe a society and its special offers and needs as well as it is difficult to embrace and understand that system described in an efficient way. To the local newspaper Maria Goncheva said "It is exciting to see that results have shown so quickly" referring to the chocolate shop and the production of pralines. At the same time Gordon Hahn, Serus gave a short historical overview telling about initiatives that have been ongoing for decades and not being recognized as strategic and important tools to integrate people with different challenges in to the labor market.
Focus for the study visit in Sweden was to enlighten the innovative approach of combining a European social found project with startup of work integrated social enterprises (WISE). The social founded project is called Orangeriet. An orangery is a growing place for plants. In this project people, whom for different reasons have been excluded from the labor market, gives an opportunity to find their way back. Growing in their own path and paste, enabled to find different ways to gain or regain self confident, and finally a place to work, in a WISE or elsewhere.
The answers to the question - Most important impressions/ideas to bring home? – differed among the participants. German idea - evolve business connections among the social enterprises that are involved in MESSE. Rumania and Bulgarian felt the gap in the whole structure of the society but at the last stop, looking at the home made table and benches someone said – it is not always about having huge recourses, it is also about to dare, start and try. In Greece everything gets in the shadow of the crises but for the future it is important to promote different ways of working and living. In Italy, the country that recognize cooperative as important tools to reintegrate people on the labor market noted that they have the possibilities to train persons within the cooperative for several years, similar to the way that is being done in the project prior to the start of the cooperatives in Kooptjänst. They do identify the strong individually based support structure as interesting. Also all of the participants recognized the systematic use of European social fond project as a mean to support enterprises as very interesting.
In East Sweden the local and regional actors will pool their recourses and throughout different partnerships and projects strive to develop a East Sweden model that will provide education and learning, start-up support, business development support, financing and a clear evidence based methods for establishing new WISEs that reduces unemployment rates, improves the public health and thus actively contributes to sustainable development.