Local ecosystems and traditions have a strong impact on social enterprises and their wellbeing, growth and potential for scaling up. While this impact is decisive, there is still a lack of information on how different social and economic environments influence these enterprises. In addition to this, managers and practitioners of social enterprises find it challenging to gain access to the frontiers of science.
A network of partner organisations
With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme, the FAB-MOVE project set out to change this. The project brought together researchers and practitioners from 27 partner organisations to explore how social enterprises can grow and flourish. “Our primary goal was to identify crucial success factors for a sustainable development of these new and innovative organisations in an internationally comparative perspective,” explains project coordinator Prof. Annette Zimmer. “This is to contribute to a thriving landscape of social enterprises and innovative societies in the EU and all other participating countries,” adds Dr Katharina Obuch, project manager. Zimmer notes: “What we wanted to do was to get social enterprises on the move.” The professor further adds: “So, what we did with the deliverables is that we had country reports from participants of each country.” Academics together with non-academic teams came together on the project to write reports on social enterprise in their country. From this, reports comparing the situation on social enterprises in different countries, the history of its development, the challenges and much more were created.
Looking at the project’s achievements
One of the main achievements of the project was the creation of a website, which featured all the research results for future social entrepreneurs. This ‘Teaching tool’, which will help to ensure the project’s enduring sustainable impact, serves the purpose of educating (future) managers of social enterprises on how to set up their enterprise in a specific environment, how to combine business with a social goal, and how to develop strategies for growth and scaling up. Obuch also notes: “What the project really achieved was the exchange and the creation of connections. People on secondment had the opportunity to get to know other institutions and social enterprises in other countries on other continents.” The project manager further adds: “I think what we achieved in these three years is a network.”
“There was such a positive kind of spirit in the whole consortium. As a result, a colleague of ours is trying to continue with a slightly different topic while keeping the group together. Not everybody though,” reports Zimmer. The focus will be on arts and culture and social enterprises in this field and a new project proposal for the 2019 call has already been submitted by the group.
FAB-MOVE, social enterprises, reports, network, social entrepreneurs, sustainable development, teaching tool