The social and solidarity economy at the heart of economic development

Kit RégionalESS N°5

June 2021

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

In connection with the renewal of regional executives in June 2021, RTES proposes a Regional SSE kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future regional teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies. Sheets 1 and 2 of the RegionalESS kit are SSE presentation sheets. They can be consulted under the references Social and Solidarity Economy: What are we talking about? (fact sheet n°2504) and Why implement a cross-cutting policy to support the social and solidarity economy? (fact sheet n°2505).

Sheet n°5 studies all the levers used by the regions to develop and manage the SSE support and funding ecosystem.

The regional level is the structuring level for economic development. It is the level at which guidelines are defined in terms of aid to businesses, support for internationalisation, aid for property investment, aid for innovation, as well as guidelines relating to the attractiveness of the regional territory.

The regional council has sole competence to define aid schemes and to decide on the granting of aid to companies in the region. It therefore has a major role in the SSE support and funding ecosystem, through several levers, some of which will be detailed in future sheets and summarised here.

Several possible levers of action:

Include SSE in the SRDEII and establish a regional SSE strategy

Regional councils must include a SSE component in their Regional Economic Development, Internationalisation and Innovation Plan (SRDEII) and may also develop a regional SSE strategy.

Promoting the development of a local economy

The regions can encourage the creation, takeover or transfer of enterprises in cooperative form by helping to publicise and recognise these possibilities and by providing financial support to employee-cooperators. They can also encourage territorial economic cooperation, in particular by supporting PTCE or SCIC structuring initiatives. They can also promote access of SSE actors to public procurement.

Support for cooperatives in the New Aquitaine, Grand Est and Normandy regions

Several regions are setting up support mechanisms for cooperatives, for example by providing aid per employee-cooperator up to the amount of his or her participation in the capital of a SCOP, or for SCICs, aid up to the amount of the members’ cumulative capital contribution.

This is the case, for example, of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region as part of its support scheme for the creation of cooperatives, or of the Grand Est region with the Bourses émergences SCOP/SCIC, or of the Normandy region with Emergence ESS coopérative.

The priorities of the SSE project support mechanisms in Burgundy Franche-Comté

On the occasion of its 3rd regional SSE conference in September 2020, the Burgundy Franche-Comté regional council presented the four priorities that structure its support systems for SSE projects:

Ensure that SSE actors are eligible for all economic aid

This involves taking into account associations with an economic activity.

More broadly, this means taking into account the specific characteristics of SSE structures in aid schemes, such as the increase in the number of employees, a hybrid economic model, the response to long-term social utility issues, social innovation, etc., which require longer start-up aid, specific employment aid, support for certain missions over time, etc.

Supporting the networks of support and financing for the creation and development of businesses

From emergence to change of scale, there are many support professionals and networks of actors promoting the creation of SSE enterprises.

The region can support these actors, particularly within the framework of multi-year agreements of objectives and means, to support their actions. It can also support the SSE incubators and start-up centres run by these structures.

This support also includes participation in the steering and financing of the Local Support Unit (DLA), which assists employing SSE structures in their efforts to create or develop employment.

The region can also provide an operating grant and an endowment to the financial instruments of the France Active territorial funds (national network of solidarity funders).

The Normandy incubator Katapult

This Normandy incubator for socially innovative enterprises is run by the Normandy SSE Development Agency (ADRESS) and supported by the Normandy Regional Council since its creation in 2018. Each year, Katapult offers intensive support adapted to different social enterprise projects (individual support, mentoring, training days, expert advice, accommodation in coworking spaces, collective events).

Covid-19: Regions mobilised for SSE actors

Faced with the health crisis and its economic consequences, several regional councils have mobilised to support SSE actors, by setting up emergency funds to support the cash flow needs of small businesses and associations and by including SSE actors in regional recovery plans.

Regional coordination units in response to the difficulties encountered by SSE structures have also been set up, such as the Robust’ESS collective initiative in the Grand Est region, which brings together the regional council, the State, the Banque des Territoires and the CRESS Grand Est, in order to identify good practices and propose measures to overcome the crisis and prepare for the future.

To go further

  • Page of the Régions de France website presenting the commission delegated to the SSE - Instructions for use: The SSE in the regions, Avise, 2016