EU Project “Social entrepreneurship as a tool for fighting social exclusion and poverty” for better inclusion of persons from vulnerable groups

Bogatić, 10.10.2019.

Information session of the “Social entrepreneurship as a tool for fighting social exclusion and poverty’’ project, implemented by Caritas Šabac in partnership with Municipality of Bogatić and Consortium of Social Cooperatives C.O.S.M. from Italy, was held today at the farm of Caritas Šabac in Bogatić.

This action is part of the global project “European Union Support to Active Youth Inclusion”, with total value of 4.7 million EUR, financed by the European Union and co-funded by the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

The significance of this project is in getting local and potential entrepreneurs more familiar with social economy, and opportunities which this concept brings, and in fostering the contact between social sector and labour market.

Miroljub Nikolić, Project Manager of the “Social entrepreneurship as a tool for fighting social exclusion and poverty’’ project, stated that the social entrepreneurship sector in the world currently employs around 40 million people, and engages over 200 million volunteers. In the European Union, various forms of social entrepreneurship (such as cooperatives, civil society organizations, foundations and social enterprises) account for two million companies. The latest estimates say that today in the EU 14.5 million people, which is around 6.5% of the working age population of the EU, are employed through social economy. In 2012, 1196 social enterprises of different types operated in the Republic of Serbia. The biggest share in the total number of social enterprises was taken by cooperatives (65.6%), and associations of citizens (23.7%). Enterprises for employment of persons with disability accounted for 3.8% and development agencies for 2.7%. All other types of social enterprises (foundations, business incubators, spin off enterprises and other) accounted for 4.3% of the total number.

Social enterprises differ from traditional organizations of the third sector by more accentuated economic activities, along with the readiness to enter risky economic projects. At the same time, they differ from profit enterprises and traditional cooperatives by a stronger orientation towards broader social objectives and interests of the community.

The “European Union Support to Active Youth Inclusion” project, total value of which is EUR 4.7 million, financed by the EU (IPA 2014) and co-funded by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, aims to ensure greater social inclusion of youth population in Serbia by increasing of employment, youth activity, work experience and entrepreneurship practice among youth population. Through the project the EU and Government of Serbia has granted 24 grants, which will be implemented in more than 35 cities and municipalities in Serbia by the end of 2021. The projects implemented by the national and provincial social welfare institutions, municipalities and cities, citizens associations, foundations and educational institutions will increase the scope and quality of services at the local level in education and employment, innovative practice, active inclusion mechanisms and models and thereby strengthen the social inclusion of youth. The impact and tangible outcomes of the project are expected at all levels concerning the overall readiness and increased capacities of relevant institutions for the innovative development and management of youth active inclusion measures, policy development in line with best EU practices, and effective use of related EU financial assistance.

The project is managed by the Ministry of Finance, Department for Contracting and Financing of EU Funded Programmes (CFCU), while the project beneficiary institutions are the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and Ministry of Youth and Sports.

More about the project can be found on www.ukljucivanjemladih.rs

The European Union’s donations to Serbia exceed EUR 3.6 billion from 2000 to date. The funds have been used to support development, quality of life and reforms in: civil protection, flood relief and protection, education, connectivity, environment, health and consumer protection, culture, rule of law, local development, jobs and growth, public administration, migration, public financial management, civil society and media, social inclusion, youth and sport. EU support is implemented in cooperation with the Government of Serbia. The European Union is a larger donor of development aid to Serbia than all other international donors put together.