European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted the Second European Day for Social Economy Enterprises (EUDSEE) on 28 June 2017 in Brussels. The first edition of this event was organized by the EESC in 2016 and established a tradition to highlight the social economy sector´s role in building a better and more sustainable future of the European economy. This year the Day was aimed to review the progress made in the building of environment which enhances social enterprises. Moreover, the event presented the floor for the debate on the future steps on this new economic model to foster its recognition and wider dissemination.

The EUDSEE 2017 brought together relevant sector representatives with several stakeholders and EESC´s partners to have comprehensive overview about the situation of this economic sector, create synergies and discuss how to proceed to a systematic change at European level.

More than 130 participants of the event composed of social economy stakeholders & policy makers united their voice to stress the need for a long-term policy action plan for the social economy by 2018!

This year´s event agenda enabled participants to meet and explore the social entrepreneurship start-up initiatives during four case studies presented:

- PermaFunghi is a Belgian project of urban agriculture and circular economy whose activity is to recycle coffee grounds into two valuable products: oyster mushrooms and compost. This technique transforms completely waste into two useful products.

- Solidarity Salt from Greece is the refugee food company that empowers women to build a new life. They select the finest Greek natural Sea Salt and carefully package it in a handmade bag. Every bag comes with a personal message from its maker.

- HopHopFood from France aims to develop food solidarity areas, while reducing food waste of individuals/ households, via a free digital platform. It is a platform, which allows to geolocalise and connect those who have, at one time, not enough good food and those who occasionally or generally have too much of them or want to donate.

- 6zero1 is the first incubator for social enterprises in Luxembourg supports social entrepreneurs throughout the process of creating and launching their societal impact enterprise, they also offer training and hosting of enterprises.

In the afternoon session, the participants were allowed to explode and discuss the potential of SEE in thematic workshops dedicated to topics such as new economic models, integration of migrants and territorial cohesion.

EESC noted that “the participants highlighted the positive role of the SEEs in putting people before profit, building a more cohesive society, bringing innovation and empowering citizens. They also pointed out the need to create a EU legal framework, reinforcing public-private partnerships and ensure increased and easier access to funding.

According to the EESC´s press release the participants come up with following conclusions in form of policy recommendations to the policy makers:

Concerning the role and contributions of SEE to the new economic models, participants decided to stress the need to levelling the playing field to protect the SEEs. The workshop on roles of SEE in integration of migrants emphasized the need to facilitate early access to the labor market, better EU migration policies and promotion of positive examples within media communication on the issue. Last working group dedicated to territorial cohesion, called for joint effort at both local and EU levels in dissemination of good practices of pro-bono activities for SEE by involving companies.