The 2nd Policy Learning Dialogue in the extension period of the Social SEEDS project had been organised between the 7th and 8th of September, 2022 in Rzeszów, Poland

Between the 7th and 8th of September 2022, the Rzeszow Regional Development Agency hosted the 2nd Transnational Policy Learning Dialogue of the SOCIAL SEEDS project.

This event mainly focused on the exchange of experiences on the situation of social economy entities in the partner countries after the Covid-19 pandemic as well as on the future of the social sector in Europe and the prospects for its development.

Project partners, stakeholders and speakers from Belgium, Hungary, Slovenia, Czechia, Germany and Poland attended the event. Social economy entities from these countries presented the challenges, consequences and good practices of running social businesses in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Experiences of providing aid to COVID victims and refugees also had been presented and exchanged.

The first session of the event was dedicated to presenting the methodology and results of mapping the Covid-19 pandemic’s influence on partner countries’ social ecosystems and policies.

Later on, during the 2nd session partners and guests took part in a moderated discussion on the future of the social economy after the world crisis caused by the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This session started with the introductory presentation of Ms. Roberta Dall’Olio, president of EURADA, who shared ideas about how the social economy sector should react to nowadays changes and challenges. She especially emphasized the importance of internationalization as an essential factor of the growth and resilience building of the social enterprise sector.

To set the stage for the discussion, all partners presented the original or new policy instruments targeted by them in the framework of the Social SEEDS project as well as the opportunities for influencing them in order to create a more enabling policy environment for social enterprise development and their results achieved in this regard.

At the end of the session, a moderated discussion was held on what kind of needs and challenges the sector faces currently and how these could be handled by better directing support to social enterprise entities.

The first day of the Policy Learning Dialogue event also included a study visit to the Inpro Association and the Pub Spółdzielczy Social Cooperative. The founders of both organisations shared their knowledge and experience about the challenges and best practices of running social enterprises in times of crisis.

The first session of the second day also has been focusing on sharing the best practices of stakeholders regarding running social business activities during the pandemic and the war. Social entrepreneurs shared their examples and experiences of dealing with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, especially of their involvement in helping Ukrainian refugees.

As the last session of the event, a Steering Committee Meeting was dedicated only to project partners to discuss project management issues and the tasks related to project closing.