Cities/Regions & Social economy enterprises take action

The City of Nantes (FR) has taken emergency measures to support cultural professionals, who have been hard hit by the cancellation of all shows, concerts, theatre performances and festivals. A specific unit has been set up within the city administration to monitor, inform and assist cultural actors. Contracts with the City have been confirmed: performances and shows that had been purchased by the public authorities for the programming of the different cultural venues will not be cancelled, and will therefore be paid to the artists and companies. Financing of the functioning of cultural organisations , of all projects in the associative sector, of actions in the field of artistic and cultural education will continue. Neighbourhood projects, in particular those related to  the shared creations scheme and the “Culture à deux pas de chez vous” initiative, will also be supported further. Voted grants will be maintained regardless of the level of activity and progress of the project – they will be paid in advance. Cultural associations housed by the City will benefit from a suspension of rents or even rent cancellation in the case of most fragile structures.

Support for nurseries

Lazio Region (IT) has adopted a specific support programme for nurseries . The Region is intervening with about €6 million in support of nurseries to cope with the suspension of activities following the Covid-19 emergency. This financial support targets public nurseries, private nurseries with a public service contract as well as private accredited nurseries without a public service contract. You will find more information here.


The Social economy mobilizing for cooperative and mutual support


Cooperative Fund for the cooperative, associative and community initiatives

Various Catalan organisations from the Social and Solidarity Economy are about to set up and promote a cooperative fund for cooperative, associative and community initiatives developing and delivering direct solutions to the current social and health emergencies. A first call will provide financial support to 26 solidarity initiatives. A crowdfunding campaign was launched recently aiming to at least double the amount of 30 000 EUR invested already by the Federation of Worker Cooperatives of Catalonia.

The contigency fund will be developed further in a second phase in order to support and consolidate social and solidarity economy initiatives responding to the objectives of the initiative.

More information is available here.

Cooperative support for independent workers

Smart, a cooperative providing services and social protection for independent workers through the mutualisation of resources and the provision of an entrepreneur-employee status, announced that it will assume the payment of the fixed-term contracts of its entrepreneur-employees endangered by the Covid-19 crisis and, from its solidarity fund, the payment of the expenses (justified) already incurred in the cancelled orders.

Promoting cooperation and mutual help between (social economy) enterprises

France Barter, a French platform cooperative providing enterprises with the possibility to purchase through an exchange of goods and services (i.e. without engaging cash flow) offers free membership until the end of April 2020. The city of Paris encouraged local enterprises to use this opportunity and purchased a number of memberships for local social economy enterprises.

(Community) foundations creating synergies

Assifero, the national membership association of Italian grant-making foundations and private institutional philanthropy, has launched, together with others, the platform: “Coronavirus: System philanthropy“.

The objective of this web portal is to collect the initiatives of foundations, philanthropic organizations, companies and individuals (with donations exceeding the economic value of 100,000 euros) which aim to combat the Coronavirus emergency in order to make them part of a system and accessible to all. The portal is not a fundraising tool but rather a platform providing an opportunity for the various initiatives to be further enhanced and networked.

Moreover, the platform aims to map the short and medium term needs of nonprofit organizations arising out of the emergency situation, through a survey that you can find here.

Saving local bookstores/Voucher system

In the region of Catalonia, the cooperative SOM* (@som_cultura), a leading cooperative in the cultural and communication sector, set up #LlibreriesObertes, an initiative enabling citizens to purchase books and other media from (smaller) local bookstores that had to close due to the lockdown and risk their existence. Purchased goods can then be picked up once the shops open again.

REVES co-founder CECOP, the European Confederation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives, published a collection of stories on how cooperatives in the industrial and service sector are responding to the challenges of the current crisis. You will have more here.


SME policies (targeting also the social economy)


Platforms to match different type of demand and offer of enterprises

Region Östergötland (SE) has initiated a new web service  to mediate contact between companies with different needs, so that they can support each other through the crisis.

At , companies that are looking for assignments, or have available labor, can post what they can offer. Similarly, companies that are looking for workforce, or want to buy other services, can post their needs. It may include companies with capacity to take on assignments that have not been part of their business in the past, or companies that have concrete recruitment needs due to increased workload. The web service is open to all types of organisations, including public sector. The information published on the website is publicly available – anyone can see what is posted, including private individuals, maybe unemployed, not connected to any type of organisation.

The companies fill out a form on the website with their details and the information is thereafter briefly reviewed by the region before being published. Region Östergötland has allocated personal resources to review and manage the information submitted. The site is hosted by the unit for growth at the regional administration in Östergötland, Region Östergötland.

Ile-de-France Region (FR) has set up a comprehensive plan with a set of measures aiming to support different type of enterprises from the region in the Covid-19 context. These measures are implemented partially in cooperation with the French government and Bpifrance (the French Public Investment Bank).
They include, for example, specific advice with regard to the available financial support, tax or social protection issues, support with regard to credit and related guarantees, the mobilization of so-called ‘credit mediators’ or mediators intervening in case of problems with clients or providers or other kind of provisions providing relief from cash flow problems.
With regard to public procurement, Covid-19 is recognized as a case of force majeure. Therefore, no penalty for delays will be applied. Payment of suppliers and service providers in the Ile-de-France Region will be made within 30 days. The Ile-de-France Region also processes subsidies within 30 days.
Several digital platform have been established: The platform “Solutions Covid-19” has the objective to bring together suppliers of and applicants for solutions to different kind of needs emerging in the current crisis. It gives access to a catalogue of services and products by enterprises, useful in particular for senior citizens, other companies, retailers and healthcare professionals. The platform “Ensemble pour l’Emploi” (“Together for Employment”), in turn, aims to bring together demand for and offer of employment, but also related training opportunities.
Moreover, a solidarity fund to provide very small enterprises, the self-employed, micro-entrepreneurs, independent professionals, associations and other economic players with additional financial support has been put in place in cooperation with the French government and Bpifrance.

You will find more information here.

Youth Policies

Integrating different existing youth policies at regional level and creating new initiatives is the objective of the programme Giovanisìlaunched by the Region of Tuscany (IT) in June 2011. In cooperation with local NGOs, the social economy, local authorities, SMEs and other players, the Region aims to a) improve opportunities in the field of education and training; b) facilitate the transition from school to work; c) facilitate the start-up of new enterprises. More than € 1 billion, financed by regional, national and European funds (including ESF and ERDF), have been allocated to the project since its implementation, serving more than 335.000 young beneficiaries.

In the current Covid-19 context, the Region continues a number of the actions in various (online) forms and formatsAn important instrument of communication and mobilisation is Accenti, the Giovanisì storytelling tool. The interviews collected in recent weeks contain, for example, testimonies of youngsters who decided to continue their civil service (despite the possibility to suspend it) in order to serve the community or those of young entrepreneurs trying to reinvent their activities also through cooperation with others.