The Strasbourg Declaration: empowering social entrepreneurs for innovation, inclusive growth and jobs

Last week, 16-17 January 2014, we were in Strasbourg together with 2000 social entrepreneurs and supporters of social enterprise to debate the role of social entrepreneurship in the future (and present) of Europe.

See here the welcome message adressed by the EC President Barroso to the 2000 delegates.

As stated in the preface of the Strasbourg Declaration (strasbourg-declaration_en):

“Social enterprises offer a model for 21st century business that balances financial, social, cultural and environmental needs. Social entrepreneurs are agents of change, as individuals and groups who are passionate about improving the lives of people and communities. Social enterprises work. They are effective. There is no part of Europe that cannot benefit from social entrepreneurship. At this time of economic crisis and with the challenges of an ageing population, youth unemployment, climate change and increasing inequalities, Europe needs more social enterprises”.

We add, more INNOVATIVE social enterprises; this is reflected in the Annex to the Strasbourg Declaration (strasbourg-declaration-annex_en).

Social entrepreneurship was at the core of the European debate for a few days, now the challange is to keep the light on and implement those measures (financial, regulatory, political) supporting and boosting social entrepreneurs in Europe.

The words of Antonis Samaras, Greek Prime Minister, and Enrico Giovannini, Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies, let us think of a 2014 focussed on European social challanges, and social entrepreneurship as key solution to them.

As TRANSITION, we strongly belive that SOCIAL INNOVATION is part of this entrepreneurial wave, providing “new solutions (ideas, products, services, models, markets, processes etc.) that simultaneously meet a social need (more effectively than existing solutions) and lead to new or improved capabilities and relationships and better use of assets and resources. In other words, social innovations are both good for society and enhance society’s capacity to act” (taken from TEPSIE project, undertaken by the Young Foundation. See TRANSITION D1.1, The Social Innovation Journey, Key Definitions).

Therefore, TRANSITION aims at testing and developing Social Innovation Incubation tools and methodologies to support and boost social innovators across Europe, contributing to solve the social challanges the EU is facing today.

More info about the Have Your Say Event here