Wednesday, 27 August 2014

BuCoSoMa - Project Leaflet

To finish up our project work, we have jointly created a little project leaflet. It contains concise information about the project aims and results as well as information about how to contact the project partners.

Please feel free to distribute the leaflet to any person or organsation that might be interested in our project work.

download: Project Leaflet

Thursday, 31 July 2014

BuCoSoMa dissemination event in Sofia

During our dissemination event end of July, we at GENERATIONS, discussed the problems that are reported in recent years in the field of adult learning in social institutions and that the functions and responsibilities of the institutions involved in learning forms are not clearly formulated and distributed between the managing bodies and organisations bound up with human resources development and vocational qualification of working force in the social sphere. Co-ordination links between them are very poor, but improvements of the organisation and management of the bodies providing social services are needed.
Our attendees were mostly representatives of Educational Institutions and were very interested to become acquainted with the Curriculum we developed in the frame of our project.
Simona Hristova, Managing Director of Association Generations, presented the project and the training concept for teaching basic economic know-how that is necessary for the successful economic management of socially oriented organisations.

The focus of our workshop was the teaching content which would have to contain an educational offer, so that it is interesting for the executives of social companies. Suggestions were made, that topics like networking, ethics, psychology, andragogy and other could be involved in the training modules.

Our participants expressed their willingness to cooperate and support us in the next steps to develop concrete models of learning, training and teaching business competence to employees and managers of social institutions.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Dissemination Workshop, April 5th, 2014 in Vienna

We at Easy Business held a dissemination workshop on April 5th, 2014 in Vienna. A total of 11 participants discussed the potential of the BuCoSoMa curriculum and its implications for Austria's VET centers.

The participants were mainly trainers and product managers from various VET centers in Austria. They were all interested in the marketing potential of the new curriculum and also in how to approach Social Enterprises.

Günter Schmatzberger gave a general presentation about the project, which lead into a discussion and workshop part in which dealt with the characteristics of the target group "Social Enterprises" and their special challenges.

The project's initiative was met with overall approval. Some questions were raised about whether it is possible to implement the curriculum in all types of social enterprises as there are many different kinds.

It was agreed that while the curriculum is a valuable step forward, in order to use the full potential of the initiative there need to be training guidelines and concrete material for learners and trainers. The workshop finished with suggestions and recommendations by the participants which were used in the proposal for the Erasmus+ strategic partnership "ABC - Alliance for Business Competence and Social Responsibility", which will deal with concrete training and learning resources.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Strategic Partnership Project Application: ABC - Alliance for Business Competence and Social Responsibility

In this year's application round for Strategic Partnerships within the Erasmus+ Programme we applied for a continuation of the BuCoSoMa project in the shape of the project proposal "ABC - Alliance for Business Competence and Social Responsibility".

Building on the groundwork of BuCoSoMa, the ABC project proposal aims at providing concrete models of learning, training and teaching business competence to employees and leaders of Social Enterprises. These models intend to bridge the gap between the business world and the world of social responsibility and promote synergies and mutual benefits between these two views.

Our proposal is currently in the process of being evaluated by the National Agency in Germany. We very much hope to be given the chance to continue the valuable work we started with BuCoSoMa in order to help solving a pressing issue in today's European economies.

Final Conference: Presentations of local Social Enterprises

Here are the presentations of Fairkauf and STEP for your further reference:

Presenation Fairkauf (pdf)

Presentation STEP (pdf)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Finale Conference in Hannover

       Finale conference in Hannover

On 11th of June 2014 the finale conference took place in the Ada-und-Theodor-Lessing-Volkshochschule Hannover (VHS Hannover). The institute is situated in the city-center directly vis-à-vis of the town-hall. In a warm welcome by Michael Guttmann, head of the Volkshochschule, he explained how the VHS Hannover has been getting to be involved in the subject “Social Economy” and the relation to other finished or running projects as e.g. “MESSE (Mechanism for Enhancement of Synergy and Sustainability among Enterprises)” , an Interreg IVc project in which the VHS Hannover is participating. The project’s brochures have been distributed and Cristina Marina presented the MESSE-website which includes a tool for supporting social enterprises.

Then Günter Schmatzberger from EasyBusiness in Vienna introduced in the project and gave a presentation: From the idea to the results. You can see the presentation here in the blog.

In the reports on the situation of Social Enterprises in the partners’ countries the following challenges seemed to be general:

1.       Because of the economical crisis in the last years in most countries the public subsidiaries are decreasing. That means for the Social Enterprises that they have to develop a new strategy to sell services and products and to get participants. Social Enterprises realized in this situation that they are not visible. Up to this difficult new situation they never have done real marketing und now they have to start with but they suffer a lack of knowledge.

2.       The second question in Social Economy was described as “the gap between social worker and business-management”.  The social worker who only want to do his job for support their clients and on the other hand the necessity of business-management for a stabile financing and future options. Furthermore in the most enterprises the business-management is in the hands of non-professionals as priests, social worker and so on.

In the presentations of the two invited Social Enterprises “Fairkauf” and “STEP” both topics played a roll.

Fairkauf, presented by Mr. Zielinski,  is a social warehouse in the city-center of Hannover which works today without public subsidies. Their motto is “earning money for doing good and not doing good for earning money”. Fairkauf sells clothes, books, furniture, kitchen utilities and so on, which have been donated. They never buy the products they sell, they only use donations. The profit is used for employment and training of people who have been longtime unemployed or other bad conditions for integration in the job-market.  Their strategic symbol is a flying seagull balancing in the air with its two wings: one wing is the business strategy and the other the social responsibility – both have to be in balance in a social enterprise.

Fairkauf is managed by professionals who are in retirement and volunteer their time. For sure  that is a strength and an important reason for the success of fairkauf. Fairkauf as a social warehouse had to do marketing from the first moment: they have to sell their goods and they need motivated employees.

Mr. Wyborny, general manager of “STEP = Network against substance abuse and other types of addiction” presented this social enterprise and gave a presentation about the lack of applicants with business skills and knowledge for management jobs. STEP is a limited company not for profit which means they need profit but they do not distribute the earnings. STEP works in 27 places in Lower Saxony in different kinds of establishments for addicted people (consultation centers, treatment, schooling, therapy and so on). The professionals of STEP are mostly social workers, followed by pedagogues and psychologists. The key positions in the middle-management are occupied by those professionals too, but they need management and business knowledge in this position which they never have learnt in their studies. So training for those people on the base of our curriculum should be very useful.

At the end of the following questions and answers the next steps for developing this training were described. A new project “Alliance for Business Competence” is planned and the partnership applied for subsidy in the new program of the European Commission called Erasmus+. Aim of this project would be to realize training modules and a certification system for business training in social enterprises on the curriculum developed in the running BuCoSoMa project.

All participants expressed their complete satisfaction with this interesting conference!

Renate Ackermann

Ada-und-Theodor-Lessing-Volkshochschule Hannover





Monday, 9 June 2014

BuCoSoMa Pilot Seminar in Bulgaria

We at GENERATIONS also did our training course on Social Management. All trainees agree the training was well worth it. We think we made learning easy, effective, engaging, and productive. We realize there are so many more benefits than the certificate. It helped us to design our own training plans and programs, and to motivate others to participate as well. Lecturers and trainees determined and coordinated together a framework of the areas and terms of training. The management theories and the thinking models were discussed and compared with the experience and potentials of the trainees, and the steps for practical implementation were coordinated. Particular importance was attached to creating a network among the trainees and to learning from each other both during the seminar and afterwards. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is the appreciation that one can be learning all the time, even if you are not in a formal training program.