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For a Better Tomorrow: Social Enterprises on the Move

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FAB-MOVE (For a Better Tomorrow: Social Enterprises on the Move)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

"The project “For a Better Tomorrow: Social Enterprises on the Move” (FAB-MOVE) is funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE). It brings together researchers and practitioners in order to explore the question of how social enterprises, roughly defined as ""organisations seeking business solutions to social problems"" (Thompson / Doherty 2006) can grow and flourish. Our central aim is to identify crucial success factors for a sustainable development of these new and innovative organisations in an internationally comparative perspective to be able to contribute to a thriving landscape of social enterprises and innovative societies in the EU and all other participating countries.
These objectives will be achieved through a carefully crafted network of 28 academic and non-academic partner organizations co-operating worldwide. At the heart of the project lies the idea to promote international and inter-sector collaboration through research and innovation staff exchanges, and sharing of knowledge and ideas from research to market. International and intersectoral secondments (1-12 months) of staff members between our Partner organizations build the foundation for comparative research on social enterprises, their environments, innovations and challenges in different contexts.
With its international and intersectoral Consortium FAB-MOVE will significantly improve the transfer of knowledge between academics and nonacademics and thus increase the practical applicability of research findings. For an enduring sustainable impact, the central results of FAB-MOVE will be published in the form of a Teaching Tool to educate (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.
"Work Package I (Stocktaking of Knowledge about Social Enterprises) was concluded in May 2017.
13 country reports were written in line with the project’s goals, comprising the 12 “sending” countries (AUT, ES, FR, GER, IT, IL, PL, SWE, SCO, IDN, ARG, CRI) plus China, to sharpen the international perspective of our project. The reports contain information about the history and development of Social Enterprises, their political and economic environment, and the discourse on Social Entrepreneurship in the respective countries.
Based on the country reports, three comparative reports were written under the guidance of WP I leader Anna Domaradzka (Warsaw University) focusing on ""the evolution, discourses and supporting structures of social enterprises"", ""social enterprises relation to other sectors in international perspective"", and ""Social entrepreneurship in the emerging markets countries"".
Our Consortium was able to conclude 71 WPI secondment-months (out of 70 originally planned).

Work Package II (Successful Social Enterprises) started in summer 2016 with a meeting of WPII leader Giulio Citroni (University of Calabria) and co-leader Rosario Sapienza (Impact Hub Syracuse) who elaborated a roadmap for our case study research. Timelines, methodology, and the selection of cases were discussed within the Consortium during our Workshop for the Preparation of the Teaching Tool held in Syracuse in May 2017. All academic Partners will submit a first version of their case study reports to the WP leaders until February 28, 2018. After a review process these will be submitted to the European Commission as scheduled in June 2018, together with our WP II leaders' final recommendations for the Teaching Tool.
In the 1st reporting period, 89 out of the 128 originally planned secondment months for WPII were concluded.

Work Package III (Dissemination and Impact) started in Spring 2016 and will conclude with the launch of the project's final outcome, the Teaching Tool, at the end of 2018.
On our FAB-MOVE website a weekly updated News section provides insights into secondments and dissemination activities, allowing seconded staff members to share their impressions with the broader public. During their secondments, staff members disseminate results and knowledge via workshops held at their receiving institutions; researchers hold lectures about social enterprise research in their home countries, theoretical considerations and research questions. Practitioners run workshops for students and scholars in the receiving academic institutions, giving insights into their daily work, the evolution, and current challenges and plans of their social enterprise. Furthermore, FAB-MOVE researchers have presented first results at numerous national and international conferences (e.g. 12th International ISTR Conference 2016 in Stockholm; ARNOVA Conference 2016 in Washington D.C. EMES Conference 2017 in Belgium, CIRIEC Conference 2017 in Manaus).
So far, 11,4 WPIII secondment months (10 originally planned) have been concluded.

All deliverables due in the 1st reporting period have been submitted. Apart from the research results mentioned above (D1.2. country reports and D1.3 comparative reports) these include our website and Internet presence (D3.1) a refined dissemination strategy (D3.2) the progress report (D3.6) Furthermore, our Kick-off Meeting in Warsaw in January 2016 (D1.1) our Mid-Term Meeting in Syracuse in May 2017 (D3.7) a Steering Committee Meeting (D2.2) the Workshop for the Preparation of the Teaching Tool (D3.3) and three Ethics Deliverables (D4.1 D4.2 D4.3) submitted in July 2016."
Our research results so far highlight not only the enormous differences between participating countries concerning the legal, cultural, and financial environments for social enterprises. Also, they refer to common similarities and parallel developments: This includes the persisting lack of a coherent definition of social enterprises, the in most countries messy legal framework and unreliable state support respectively discrepancies between the official discourse (promotion of social enterprises) and reality (deficient supporting structures). Social enterprises in different contexts take different stages and directions of development; while specific support is underdeveloped in highly structured, mid-European welfare contexts, social enterprises tend to flourish in less structured contexts where resources are available and entrepreneurial traits are valued – especially if the roles of state and market are shifting.
Apart from this academic perspective on new insights and how they help to overcome desiderata within the field of social enterprise research, FAB-MOVE has created excellent opportunities for international and inter-sectoral exchange, networking, and collaboration between participating institutions and individuals. Particularly early-stage researchers and practitioners benefit from the opportunity to gain first-hand experience, learn by seeing, listening, and comparing, they gain a fresh look at their own national context, experience new career paths and empowerment through new friendships and joint activities. The size of our Consortium and, hence, possibility to spend some time in institutions in diverse countries and get to know a completely different working environment supports inspiration and a dynamic exchange of ideas, new insights from comparative perspectives and helps establishing new ties between practitioners and academics.
THE FAB-MOVE Partners at our Mid-Term Meeting in Syracuse, Italy (May 2017)