On the impact of social solidarity economy models

As an ethical approach to a country’s development, the social solidarity economy (SSE) puts the welfare of people and environment above all else. The EU-funded ESSENTIALS project will explore the processes that contribute to the promotion of SSE. Specifically, it will focus on how social incubators can be used to encourage socio-economic development. The project will map and compare incubators in Latin America and the EU to identify any relationship between gender and organisational characteristics. A comparative study will identify the factors that contribute to the creation of incubators and their impact. The findings will shed light on the most effective social incubator models.


The main objective of the project is to provide insights into the study and interpretation of processes that contribute to the promotion of networks of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). The research also aims at identifying models that can lead to social inclusion and local development. Moreover, the project ESSENTIALS will focus on a specific experience: Social Incubators, in an attempt to encourage socio-economic development of a specific area or of a whole country, regarding processes of social innovation and transfer of knowledge. In particular, the specific objectives, of the project are:


Map the incubators and compare the characteristics in Latin America and EU, understanding if there is a relationship between gender and organisational characteristics of an incubator.


Identify the factors that contribute to the creation of incubators and the impacts of incubators, including the elements that ensure gender equality, through a comparative study.


Analyse the European context considering the strengths and weaknesses identified and thus develop a pilot study at University of Calabria, including the gender perspective.

The research carried out in Latin America will be compared (quantitatively and qualitatively) with European incubation activities. The relevance of this research is linked to understanding how to favour models capable of building a more Social and solidarity Europe, and closer to citizens. Thus, this project represents an important innovation for two reasons: (i) the study contributes to the debate on the role of social incubators and the most effective model to adopt, and brings new knowledge in Europe on the topic of social incubators oriented to the territory, a topic not widely investigated in Europe; (ii) it suggests a pratical solution for the implementation of social incubators in Europe, through the pilot study of creating a social incubator, that will provide feedback for new theoretical and cognitive elements.


Experiences of Social and Solidarity Economy: Networks of Incubators as TerritoriAL development Strategies