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03 Apr

Study visit in Larissa- Greece in the frame of SEYW project!

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / April 3, 2020 / 1 Comment

Art Square ASBL travelled to Larissa in Greece from february 11 to 13, 2020 for a study visit in the context of the SEYW Erasmus+ project on“The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union.

 

We were welcomed by our host iED – Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, a research organisation committed to the promotion of innovation and the enhancement of the entrepreneurial spirit. iED also develop research and provide innovative solutions that facilitate the growth of healthy entrepreneuship and promote employment.

Located on the banks of Pineios river, the city of Larissa has contantly been inhabited since the prehistoric times. The town was the heart of commercial life during the ottoman occupation and this tradition was preserved over the years while the city and its market continued to expand towards the valley.


We had the privilege to visit different cases of social entrepreneurship from education to culture, art and women entrepreneurship.

Our first visit starts with the Social Care Partnership Horripos, a Center for Education, Diagnostics, Sport and Therapy which offers comprehensive support and services to children in particular financially vulnerable groups and with the aim of integrating children with disabilities. As we learnt from the beautiful work performed by the people within this organisation, we also understand that they surely need more support from the state.

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PHOTO-2020-02-17-10-58-28The second visit at Exandas, a Social Cooperative Enterprise born out of the need of educators to create the conditions that will allow children to work with dignity, imagination and a creative spirit, distancing from any form of competition that promotes both market and degree.

Recognizing the difficulties that the modern school, which is systematically disrupted, with ever-changing systems, has to deal with, they come to support the students at all stages from elementary to high school.

We were very impressed by the devotion and the passion of the educators for the kids and the creativity spirit around the work space from robotics, computer to art and writting.

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Early in the evening of the second visit’s day, we were impregnated within the great history of Larissa during our visit at the Museum of the Mil of Pappas.

The exhibition displays the stages of the technological progress of the Mill, the secrets of the industrial processing of wheat as well as the people who created an important flour milling industry in the heart of Thessaly region. We were guided by a representative ofNoon Egno, a Social Cooperative Enterprise founded by a group of young people who design and implement cultural, tourist and educational activities. The aim is to create a fruitful dialogue with young and old, through historical paths, alternatives and experiences.

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Our final visit ended wonderfully in Gonnoi one hour from Larissa, within Agricultural Women Association of Gonnoi, a cooperative, which produces and sell traditional products and food. We are able to witness that empowering women entrepreneurship can only lead to success. The women cooked for us traditional dishes and deserts of Greece.

We also had the pleasure to visit the Folklore Museum of Gonnoi, which presents collections of over 7,000 items of considerable value and of particular interest.

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The visit in Larissa was deeply instructive and inspirational. All the social entreprises visited have successes but more challenges as we can’t expect less from social entreprises.

However there are definitely common points between all such as determination, unity and altruism.

Many thanks to Institute of Entrepreneurship Development for hosting and organising this inspirational visit!

#seyw #erasmusplus #socialentrepreneurship #socialinnovation  #EU #socialresponsibility

10 Jan

6zero1 first incubator for social entrepreneurs in Luxembourg!

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / January 10, 2020 / 0 Comments

6zero1, the pioneer of social enterprises in Luxembourg helping entrepreneurs launch social enterprises of their own, has been a part of the quickly changing landscape of social impact companies in Luxembourg over the past few years.

 

In 2010 the government created the social solidarity department and established the first action plan to discuss the law and legal framework around the sector, and in 2016 a vote was taken towards having a law and incubator to support social enterprises which were the two main goals of the Minister. Six European ministers gather, plus the Tunisian minister, to create the Declaration de Luxembourg to promote the social economy.

6zero1

The social economy in every country is closely linked to national economy, some countries where co-operatives important and some not so important. A monitoring committee for the mutual recognition of certain social values such as reinvestment was erected to oversee what each country defines as a social economy and social enterprise to find common ground. In Luxembourg you can become a social enterprise from first day, whereas in France it can take up to three years. Luxembourg collaborates and has a lot of contact with Bulgaria, as the Bulgarians want to build a platform for entrepreneurship and know that Luxembourg has an existing platform to be used as a best practice exchange.

 

The “Societal Impact Company” status, or SIS, is an accreditation in Luxembourg given to companies who have agreed to reinvest some or all of their profit into the economy. In 2016, 6zero1 decided to publish a guide covering all questions and answers regarding the law to be used as an easy tool for those wishing to become a SIS. Assisting social entrepreneurs who have projects intended to become a SIS has been the main goal of 6zero1 since the beginning; they help define a future company’s social purpose, impact and business model and have shifted from an incubation program of 12 months with fixed training dates to an individual program. 22 entrepreneurs with diverse profiles anywhere from engineering, banking and insurance have passed through 6zero1’s program.

 

The program offered by 6zero1 underwent a considerable change in that its aim became focused on support, rather than classes, starting with an assessment procedure of soft skills followed by individual coaching to give a platform for business modeling using the compano tool for a business’s impact. Furthermore, another significant change is that the program fee was dropped to just 300 euro, and entrepreneurs are selected through an open call and can register at their own convenience.

 

On average, 6zero1 supports seven projects per year from individuals of all ages and skill, however, those accepted are beyond the ideation phase (which usually happens at Nyuko) and are ready to consolidate a business plan to become a company.

 

The benefits for a company to go social include a tax exemption, except VTA, of up to a 100% fiscal exemption if all profits are reinvested into the Luxembourg economy, a company can however receive donations. One of the main barriers for companies, especially startups and individual entrepreneurs is that their accounts will be to be properly audited, which means money for an auditor must be accounted for in the business plan. 6zero1 is currently working on solution to get auditors at a lower cost. At the moment a lot of services are ASBL, but not official social enterprises. Another factor hindering the take-off of social entrepreneurship in Luxembourg come down to priorities, they government has emphasized space mining and other talents over the social economy, although many are hopeful for greater inclusion in this sector due to the Ministry of Social and Solidarity of the economy was created two years ago. The first transnational cluster for the social economy was installed by the Ministry for the greater region, and Germany has showed interest in joining.

 

6zero1has expressed that Luxembourg is not a country of entrepreneurship, nor are they pushing for SIS, and most people reaching out for 6zero1 and Nyuko help are not Luxembourgish, but those from abroad. It can be said that the entrepreneur spirit in Luxembourg is rather low perhaps because it is not part of the education curriculum. 6zero1 hopes to collaborate more closely with Nyuko because people tend to go to my-guichet.lu to get info about SIS and either think it is too difficult to obtain or are afraid of the auditing costs, and with greater communication with Nyuko, 6zero1 will be able to direct entrepreneurs wanting to become a SIS through a process which is much simpler than many think!

 

09 Jan

Partners Meeting in Sofia- SEYW project “The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work”

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / January 9, 2020 / 0 Comments

Art Square ASBL traveled to snowy Sofia, Bulgaria to meet the partners from the SEYW project on “The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It was a fruitful day of exchanges between the Greek, Estonian, French, Bulgarian, Italian and of course us Luxembourgish partners, where each representing organisation presented the list of activities that were held in 2019 on the topic of social enterprises. Art Square ASBL gave a presentation on the most recent study visit for the SEYW project which took place in Bordeaux, highlighting some favorite social practices from businesses like fab lab Sew & Laine or Eco-Lieu Jeanot. We took a short lunch break to eat some traditional Bulgarian food at restaurant “Happy” and indeed resumed our afternoon meeting full, happy and excited about the upcoming study visits in 2020, which will kick off in Larissa, Greece in February. Art Square ASBL will host the partners for a second time in Luxembourg next summer so dates were discussed for this future meeting. Our day was finished at a typical Bulgarian eatery called “Shtastliveca”, where we enjoyed fresh food and our final words before parting our ways back to our countries!

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#seyw #socialentrepreneurship #erasmusplus #sofia #Bulgaria #KA2 #partnersmeeting

09 Jan

Social Entrepreneurship in Luxembourg- study visit

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / January 9, 2020 / 0 Comments

December was a busy month at Art Square ASBL, but the highlight, of course, was hosting the partners from the SEYW project on “The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” funded by the Erasmus+ Porgamme of the European Union here in Luxembourg! We organized a jampacked two-days study tour on December 8thto 11thwhere representatives from the partner organizations from France, Italy, Estonia, Greece and Bulgaria got to experience the best of Luxembourg’s social economic sector.

 

Kicking off the tour at Art Square Lab’s office in the Artrooms on 48, Avenue de la Liberty, we had the privilege of having a member of 4motion ASBL come to speak to us about education initiatives designed by their organization aimed at social change particularly for young people. Next, Art Square Luxembourg ASBL gave a presentation on their work targeted youth and social practices and then the night was closed by a visit to the enchanting Luxembourg Christmas markets!

 

Our first visit on Monday started at the MeSiS building on Cote d’Eich, or Maison de l’économie sociale et de l’innovation sociale. Welcomed by 6zero1 SA SIS and Compellio SA, we had a very informative session about what it means to become a “SIS” in Luxembourg, how the accreditation is achieved, what are some of the legalities around it, and why very few businesses actually choose to go the SIS route. 6zero1 is often regarded as the pioneer of the social business model in Luxembourg, and has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in Luxembourg intertwine their social ambitions into their business plans, while Compellio has assisted big companies like Adem, PWC or the University of Luxembourg stay ahead of the curve through initiatives solutions focusing on tools such as digitalization.

 Visit in MESIS and 6zero1

The second stop on the agenda was a short but inspiring one. Digital Inclusion ASBL, a project that gives technological opportunities to people that would not otherwise be able to afford or access computers, gave us a tour of their small, but compact space, near the Gare. Supporting the circular economy, Digital Inclusion reuses and refurbishes second hand private and public computer and mobile phone donations, and finally passes them on to eligible people for the program. Courses are also offered in eleven languages for up-leveling digital literacy as well as earning recognized accreditation for computer skills.

 

Time for lunch anyone? Eugenio Curiel (SIS) was kind enough to accommodate our group and provide us with a delicious homemade Italian meal. With a hidden Italian library upstairs, Curiel has been a meeting point for Italian emigrants to discuss political and social ideas since its birth in 1971, and continues to function as an association supporting the Italian community in Luxembourg.

 

Bellies full, we headed over to IMS Luxembourg ASBL in the PWC building in the south of Luxembourg city. For over 10 years IMS has been at the forefront of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Luxembourg, and connects many large companies like Auchan, Foyer, Post and PWC through a network focusing on social and sustainable alternatives practices that can be introduced in the workplace to benefit people and the planet.

 

One of the many OUNI cooperative members was kind enough to fit us in for an evening tour of the Gare shop (soon to be a Dudelange location). Luxembourg’s first packaging-free organic grocery store, OUNI is a cooperative with a big social impact not only in terms of its environmental and ecological footprint, but also its social model. In fact, it is owned and operated entirely by its members which have grown to over a thousand people, and in this way, the decision-making of the company rests in the hands of all its stakeholders, who have equal possibility to have their voices heard despite the size of their share.

 Visit in OUNI

Finally, we finished our night off at Chiche! Chiche! is a chic Lebanese restaurant employing over forty refugees—helping many more than that with accommodation and residence papers over the few years it has been running—located in Limpertsberg, serving fantastic middle eastern delights like fresh falafel and hummus. We opted for the family style menu, and were able to try almost everything on the menu which was complimented by the history of Chiche! delivered by one of the owners whose passion to assist migrants in Luxembourg radiated on her face durning her explanation of Chiche’s story.

 

Day 2 and the SEYW group was up bright and early to visit BENU Village Esch ASBL. Greeted by Georges, a Luxembourgish man wearing head to toe Benu-made recycled fashion, we were given the low down about Luxembourg as the second most wasteful country in the world next to Qatar. Blown away by this fact, he went on to tell us about what people throw out in this country and how BENU upcycles clothing, furniture and even food about to spoil. BENU Village will expand from their current headquarters in a container building, constructed entirely of second hand materials, across the street into a sustainable, natural restaurant.

Benu Village 

Kulturfabrik ASBL, our second visit of the day, was an old slaughter house turned art/dance/music hub for creatives to come and practice or showcase their talents. With events happening every week, Kulturfabrik is busy setting up stages and soundchecks in their music halls, screening alternative movies in their theater on old film rolls, having after work drinks in their bar open to the public and putting on workshops like the annual Flamenco days.

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Lucky to have reserved a table at Mesa – Transition Minett, we enjoyed a nutritious bio-local meal over chats about the “REconomy” and what Mesa’s current contributions are regarding this theme. A new building is under construction down the road that will house the office for Transition Minett employees to work on their new projects for the Esch region, such as the transition of public walking spaces to be more user friendly. We got to walk through the large space after our lunch and envision the terrace which will be used for the eco café in the plans for 2020.

 

We finished our day at the Fab Lab in Limpertsberg Lycée des Arts et Métiers. As the only Fab Lan in Luxembourg connected to the global network of Fab Labs, we saw state of the art machines designed for 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC sessions and 3D modelling that are available for use not only by students but to the public who has an interest in creating, using an array of materials from wood to plastic. The membership fees are incredibly low, especially compared to Belgium, to encourage people with ideas to bring their projects to life without having to purchase expensive machinery.

 

By the end of day two the SEYW group was completely exhausted from running around the small country, but at the same time they left inspired to share the best practices they saw from Luxembourg in their home countries. Although the social solidarity economy might be small in Luxembourg, the general feeling from the organizations that we visited was that the interest in going social or sustainable is growing, and they are optimistic about a more clean, green and social Luxembourg in the future!

 

#seyw #erasmusplus #youth #socialentrepreneurship #sustainability

02 Dec

Local initiatives in Luxembourg- Transition Bonnevoie

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / December 2, 2019 / 0 Comments

 

Luxembourg: a country of communes (102 to be exact!), a country of mixed nationalities. Today we had the pleasure of speaking with Olivier Baume from Transition Bonnevoie—a social enterprise which was established in 2014 as a two-man show with Oliver and Luis Santiago—about some exciting new projects happening in the Bonnevoie neighbourhood, a neighbourhood home to a wealth of nationalities and personalities.

 

Olivier Baume, Transition Bonnevoie

Olivier Baume, Transition Bonnevoie

Starting with the idea of a “gift box”, Transition Bonnevoie’s main venture has been to transform the Bonnevoie neighbourhood into a place where people not only share a space, but also a willingness to converse and really get to know each other, beyond a quick “hello” on the street. The gift box concept, a box where anything from clothes, toys and books are stored for people to take freely, spurred the idea to create a weekend market as a way to link the diverse communities living in Bonnevoie. With a vision to showcase food, products, crafts and whatever else might reveal the pride of one’s homeland, the market would serve as a place to connect people through culture (which Luxembourg has no shortage of!), a place to buy affordable items, and a place that brings life to the Bonnevoie neighbourhood, especially on the sleepy weekends.

 

Oliver informed us that some of the biggest obstacles faced when setting up projects of this nature are always safety and security of the citizens. The commune has been supportive of the idea but steps to ensure the protection of citizens always slows down the process, and of course there are concerns about the environment that must be addressed as well. A Bonnevoie market has received positive feedback so far, however, with just four people working on the project it may take some time to be achieved.

 

In the past, Transition Bonnevoie was granted 200,000 euro to redesign Place du Parc, which it held a café citoyen style workshop where support and input from the local community was shown by giving suggestions as to what improvements could be made to make Bonnevoie more lively. More recently, a questionnaire was circulated on 16 October to find out what Bonnevoie dwellers would like to see at a weekend market and we are truly excited to see social initiatives like this popping up around the city!

 

Article was written by Kelsey Todter in the frame of the project ” The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” supported Erasmus Plus Programme. 

#seyw #ka2 #strategicpartnership #socialentrepreneurship