Training visit at social enterprises and potential investors on Social Enterprises and Social Economy in Ioannina, Greece.
Training Visit in Ioannina, within the framework of IDEA Project – Investment Development and Empowerment Action, organized on January 14-15, 2019, was focused on the identification of best practices and best financial mechanism to support SE-s and social businesses giving access to finance to the vulnerable groups and disadvantage people
The two-day agenda included visits to potential investors in the public and private sectors, exactly in Ioannina Municipality, Managing Authority of The Operational Programs in the Region of Epirus, visits in potential investors respectively Cooperative Bank of Epirus, PINDOS Company, Kapsiochas Company, Society of Psychological Research and Intervention S.P.R.I. The two-day visit ended with the closing meeting of the partners.
The first meeting took place in the Municipality of Ioannina to create a better understanding on the activities of Municipality regarding the Social Economy.
Mr. Antoniou, representative of the Municipality of Ioannina, said that the Municipality is in the course of developing a concrete strategy regarding the Social Economy. The main project of the Municipality is the FEAD Operational Program. In addition, the Municipality participates in local development through the Local Community Initiative, a program focusing on the local community, involving an active mentorship. The third project from the Municipality of Ioannina, PIT Stop, is a project implemented under the Interreg Greece-Italy Program. Mr. Antoniou also said that the Municipality offers other forms of support, providing unoccupied land or buildings to interested persons if they meet specific criteria.
Training Visit continued at the Managing Authority of the Operational Program of the Region of Epirus.
Mr. Baltogiannis, representative from the Operational Managing Authority of the Region of Epirus, said that will be at least one support Agency for social actors in the area of Ioannina, which will also support the entire Epirus region. The mechanism is already established and operates in the area of Ioannina. The purpose of this mechanism is to support the development of Social Economy in the Epirus region and will be funded by the Ministry of Labor for a period of three years. After this period, funding will be responsibility of the Managing Authority for the Operational Program of the Epirus Region. This authority will publish two calls to invite social actors to finance their own initiatives: one refers to an existing social enterprise and the other to building a new social enterprise.
The last visit for this day took place in, KAPSIOCHAS S.A.
Mr Kapsiochas said that his company provided financial support in several forms, including the sponsorship of an athlete in the Arta area, or by submitting proposals to various Municipalities for the deployment of Power Stations for electric cars. Also, they provide support Cultural Organization in organizing Cultural Events. While welcoming the suggestions, he expressed his readiness for possible cooperation in the context of IDEA project.
Second Day of Training Visit 15.03.2019
The first training visit took place at ‘Ioannina Agricultural Poultry Cooperative PINDOS’. This enterprise, one of the biggest in Greece, was already funding activities of associations, cultural organizations, etc., by supporting them either financialy or by providing other products. PINDOS is also implementing research and development projects. Two of these projects are part of the Operational Program “Competitivness, Entrepreneuship and Innovation (EPAnEK-ESPA 2014-2020). The other three programs are within the Operacioinal Program of the Epirus Region.
PINDOS is also supproting University Programs by offering their staff experts for training new scientists, and also funding their activities, even investing around 1,000,000 euros for three ideas that came from the University of Ioannina.
Next visit was at Cooperative Bank of Epirus Co. There are two programs that this Bank is currently implementing, CGR and EASY (linked to microfinance through the European Investment Fund), with the main focus of enterprises that have no access to funds. CGR is a project sponsored by the European Committee. The Bank is in partnership with the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa, the Development Agency of Karditsa and the Cooperative Bank of Chania. The project is about the social enterprises’ ecosystem in Greece. The project’s aim was to establish a fund, but this was impossible because of the strict legal system in Greece. For this reason, a NPO was established by the partners of the project. The other project is called EASY, which is addressed to every kind of entrepreneurship, both social enterprises and any other form of enterprise.
Visit at CPRI- Company for Psycho-Socaial Research & Intervention
CPRI is implementing several projects, one of which is the function of two psychological centers that operate 24/7 and offer (psychosocial rehabilitation) for persons with mental disorders. In co-operation with the municipality of Ioannina, CPRI is implementing a nationwide project for four social structures; Social Growth, where groceries and other products are distributed to people in need; Social Pharmacy that provide people in need of medicines; Municipal Vegetable Farms.
CRPI has a broad focus on supporting the most vulnerable strata of society, even focusing on areas such as tourism for elderly people.
Trining Visit finished with the meeting of partners, who discussed about the project’ process.