Local Authorities & Territorial Centres of Economic Cooperation (PTCE)

Points de RepèrESS

October 2023

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

Placing the emphasis on cooperation between diverse players in the service of territorial development, exploring new forms of activity and employment, experimenting with new forms of governance, Territorial Poles of Economic Cooperation (PTCEs) were defined in the 2014 SSE law. The relevance of the PTCE approach, and more broadly of territorial economic cooperation initiatives, in both urban and rural areas, in the face of the current challenges facing our societies, is increasingly shared. This is evidenced by the relaunch of a national policy to support PTCEs in 2021, including a permanent call for expressions of interest. Local authorities have an important role to play in contributing to the emergence and development of these initiatives. The PTCEs are undoubtedly forerunners of new socio-economic development methods, and are an important partner for local authorities in the development of projects that help to bring about change, that are territorialised and multi-stakeholder, and that contribute to the structuring of sectors or territorial ecosystems.

To download : points_de_reperess_ptce_-_octobre_2023.pdf (1.2 MiB)

What is a PTCE?

The term PTCE, which stands for « Pôle Territoriaux de Coopération Economique » (Territorial Clusters for Economic Cooperation), was coined in 2009 to highlight existing practices that were little known or recognised. It is the result of a research-action process involving the Labo de l’ESS, the CRESS, COORACE, the Mouvement pour une Economie Solidaire (MES), the RTES, as well as around twenty players and researchers who identify with this approach. The PTCEs were defined in Article 9 of the 2014 SSE Act: « Territorial clusters of economic cooperation are formed by the grouping together in the same territory of social and solidarity economy enterprises, as defined in Article 1 of this Act, which join forces with enterprises, in conjunction with local authorities and their groupings, research centres, higher education and research establishments, training bodies or any other natural or legal person to implement a common and ongoing strategy of pooling, cooperation or partnership in the service of socially or technologically innovative economic and social projects that promote sustainable local development.  »

P Point (cluster): Grouping of SSE companies, with other companies, in conjunction with local authorities, research centres, educational establishments, etc.

T Territorial: Refers to the notion of proximity, with variable perimeters, and meets the needs of the territory, catchment area or inter-municipality, and promotes its attractiveness, considering the territory as a place of tangible and intangible wealth, a capital to be « brought to fruition ».

C Co-operation: Involving multi-stakeholder organisation and development methods, tools for pooling resources and skills, co-sharing of economic activities, and decompartmentalisation through SSE between local authorities, conventional businesses and SSE players, as part of a common, ongoing strategy.

E Economic: Based on the principle of a mix of players and the hybridisation of resources (market, non-market, non-monetary), in favour of economic and social projects that are innovative (socially or technologically), across all sectors or industries, and that promote sustainable local development.

Why support and work with a PTCE?

The PTCE charter of 2014, updated in July 2021, is the cement of a common intervention culture. It is now the point of reference for the community of PTCEs, united in their diversity and their shared desire to act in favour of sustainable, mutually supportive economic development in their territories. Local authorities can encourage local players to sign the PTCE charter.

What role can local authorities play?

Given the multidimensional aspects of the PTCE, all levels of local government are involved in PTCEs. Local authorities can be involved at different stages of the project: gestation, emergence, development, consolidation, depending on the activities developed by the clusters and the skills of the local authorities. One of the essential functions of PTCEs is that of coordination, which remains difficult to finance over the long term.

The regions have an important role to play in making support for PTCEs part of their economic development policy. Some regions have specific schemes to support PTCEs, while the majority are developing schemes to support collective dynamics, with reference to Territorial Economic Cooperation Clusters: AMI Initiatives Territoriales in Grand Est, Accélérateur de Coopérations Territoriales Economiques (ACTE) in Hauts-de-France, support for cooperation and mutualisation groupings that generate economic activity and jobs in Occitanie, schemes to support the leadership of job-creating territorial cooperation processes in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

The inclusion of PTCEs in the various regional plans (SRDEII), (SRADDET), Regional Operational Programmes (POR) of the European Structural Funds, etc.) can also facilitate the commitment of other levels of local government to PTCEs.

« This is why we are calling for, and unreservedly support, the relaunch of a national policy to support PTCEs. This national policy is crucial to improving recognition of PTCEs by public players and by players in the traditional economy. In particular, it must provide a national impetus for the development of PTCEs, in line with regional dynamics » - Extract from a statement by Régions de France - January 2021

The Pays de la Loire Region, for example, has set up a support scheme for PTCEs, which aims to facilitate the emergence of PTCE projects by supporting the funding of :

The départements are involved through their sectoral policies on solidarity and inclusion, as well as through their responsibilities for territorial solidarity and territorial support.

The Conseil départemental de l’Oise supports several PTCEs in its area, with the aim of creating employment opportunities through new forms of solidarity, particularly for priority groups. This support covers the management time required to set up new regional networks. For the historic Pays de Bray PTCE, the département is supporting the engineering and mentoring function.

Inter-municipal authorities are important partners for PTCEs, whether through their economic development and attractiveness policies, or their other thematic policies depending on the PTCE’s remit (tourism, urban policy, digital technology, waste collection and management, etc.).

« We were quick to commit to the PTCE approach as a means of creating a more human, ecological and resilient dynamic. The cluster is run by the SCIC Tetris, in which the local authority is also a partner. We want to support the SSE towards a real change of scale » - Jérôme Viaud, President of Pays de Grasse

Local authorities are local partners, important for networking and mobilising elected representatives.  »

Cusset town council has identified a need to revitalise the town centre in its area, and a large number of players, most of them supported by the local authority, but with little coordination. The creation of the PTCE, located on the edge of the town’s political district, has made it possible to build a coherent project around arts and culture with the players involved » - Marie Chatelais, deputy for culture at Cusset town council.

After two seasons of calls for projects (2013 and 2016) launched by the French government, a call for expressions of interest (AMI) for « emerging PTCEs » was launched in 2021. 147 PTCEs were successful in phase 1, enabling them to benefit from a package of services provided by the State (support, advice, etc.), and 31 PTCEs were funded to the tune of €100,000 over 2 years. This AMI will be renewed in 2023, and is intended to be permanent.

How can you support a PTCE?