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The social economy is playing an increasingly important role, largely thanks to its ability to tackle some of the main challenges facing Europe, in particular the need to promote sustainable and socially inclusive economic growth and create jobs. The contribution of social enterprises to economic growth is increasing in the last few years besides the pandemic period. However, they face important obstacles to their growth as lack of funding support, ability to scale up, and lack of proper business strategy. Social enterprises are sometimes rather invisible and not well known. “Many of them do not even identify as or call themselves social enterprises”. (Social enterprises and their ecosystems in Europe. Report Jan 2020).
It is important to note that in recent decades, ICT technologies have made it easier to interact with networks of economic actors on a global level. Thus, interesting approaches to organizational and business model has been developed one of these is the collaborative economy that uses digital platforms to connect distributed groups of people to exchange goods and services directly and simply through “collaborative economy platforms”.In this context, the project INN-CO was born as an innovative collaboration among a group of social actors connected to sharing and exchanging resources and competencies to overcome complex challenges of the sector in the field of training, research or economic exchange. The ambition of the INN-CO project is to increase the visibility of social actors, and to demonstrate their contribution to the development of social collaborations in the countries involved, creating synergies. The idea is to combine efforts and knowledge for the creation of strategies and digital technologies that help groups of social entrepreneurs to cooperate and cooperate towards a common goal with an innovative approach to collaboration.
- Increase the visibility of social enterprises.
- Strengthen participants’ skills in the digital management of social enterprise projects in Europe.
- Increase the collective skills of European social entrepreneurs by sharing practices, experiences and methods for innovation.
- Generate new knowledge and European common models.
INN-CO involves the creation of 5 training activities and 2 outputs:
O1 The Collaborative Design Model.
Collaborative innovation is a model of collaboration between groups of people and/or companies using networking and the exchange of experiences to achieve goals that cannot be achieved individually, with a strong focus on social impact. In this context, if we use innovative collaboration to create or design a new project, product, proposal or idea, we are applying the approach of “collaborative design”.
The digital era and the need to be more competitive in social business, require collaborative efforts to improve and update their own business model to the actual context. Therefore, it is important for social enterprises to develop forms of collaboration to solve their common problems or to develop new initiatives; only with creativity and innovation, this can be done. In this competitive world, collaborative design becomes a way of solving problems.
O2 Virtual Cluster for Social Enterprises.
Is a group of companies in the social field, united to collaborate using networking in different areas, exchange ideas & experiences, increasing visibility at the European level as a result of the interaction in other countries. The Platform will stimulate collaboration in joint initiatives/activities with social impact, developing strategic alliances to achieve social goals.
Members of the INN-CO Cluster and the stakeholders involved will have the opportunity to establish contacts and cooperate with other companies and bodies dealing with the social economy in Italy, France, Belgium, Cyprus and Poland.
The network created will be a channel to connect all the interest groups of the social economy, implementing the collaborative model.
A significant advantage of this Virtual Cluster is to allow companies and other actors involved, to be part of a collaborative network to compete more effectively in their sector of activity at a transnational level.