The Social and Solidarity Economy grows 10% in the last five years

The number of organisations devoted to the social and solidarity economy in the city increased from 4,280 at the end of 2018 to 4,713 in the third quarter of 2023. Europe’s largest hub for cooperatives, the Bloc4BCN, is also now operating at Can Batlló and adding vitality to the social and solidarity economy.

30/06/2024 10:21 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

Work on the Bloc4BCN at Can Batlló concluded in November 2023. With a total of 4,500 square metres, the new space is expected to house over 60 businesses and organisations from the SSE, opening up new services for the internationalisation of cooperatives and the SSE, plus better funding and more.

The SSE in the city has been bolstered by the City Council policies promoted through the Social and Solidarity Economy Promotion Plan (PIESS) and the Barcelona Activa services specialising in this area, which are achieving their established goals.

The evaluation also includes interviews by organisations in the steering group for the #ESSBCN2030 strategy, which point to the PIESS as a pioneering model and a valuable guide for other municipalities. Some 98% of actions set out in the goals have been achieved or are currently in progress.

Of the 12 main goals set out in the PIESS 2021-2023, notable challenges include the business growth and strengthening of the SSE, facilitating funding and promote credit culture within this ecosystem, driving sectoral intercooperation, helping different initiatives go digital and developing platforms, and establishing dialogues and collaboration.

The evaluation considers 84% of the established actions as having been achieved, with 14% in progress and 2% redefined.

The evaluation notes that the municipal strategy has fostered collaboration between the 220 member organisations, strengthening their cohesion and collective identity within the SSE.

Barcelona Activa, leader in specialists SSE services

During the three years of the 2021-2023 plan, specialist services from Barcelona Activa provided advice for 1,406 projects, businesses and organisations. In addition, 12,626 individuals made use of these eservices, particularly the agency’s training activities.

Subsidies and loans for over 650 projects

Another factor in driving the SSE in the city comes in the from of the subsidy calls of Impulsem el que fas and Enfortim l’ESS. Between them, these two subsidy calls have helped 453 projects with a value of 4.5 million euros. Enfortim l’ESS has subsidised 391 projects, with an accumulated volume of 3.4 million euros, and Impulsem el que fas has subsidised 62 projects with an overall value of 1.1 million euros.

During the first PIESS, the City Council also started two financial instruments in an agreement with Coop 57 and the Fundació Banca Ètica, which have evolved and grown in the last three years. Work has continued with Coop57 on a fund designed to increase the credit available for SSE organisations. The fund has helped award over eight million euros through 203 loans.

Housing and digitalisation as strategic sectors

The PIESS has had a special focus on housing and digitalisation as strategic sectors in the city. In digitalisation, training and support has been provided for 422 people and 142 companies, with 113 projects gaining subsidies geared towards digitalisation through the Enfortim ESS and Impulsem el que fas subsidy calls and the Match Impulsa programme. In the context of municipal housing policies, set out in the PIESS 2021-2023 as a cross-cutting area of work, eight cooperative housing projects have been carried out through leaseholds, bringing the number of cooperative homes of this type to 269.

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