Delving into local administrations collaborating with SSE ecosystems

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Cities and consortium partners from the RRR project met once again to identify which expertise they could offer to each other and determined experiences and transversal approaches they would like to learn from, going one step further on their peer learning partnership.

Building on the work initiated last month during the first All Peer Meeting, the nine cities of the EU funded project Respond, Rebuild, Reinvent, part of the OECD’s Global Action on Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems, met once again with the consortium partners to go one step further in their quest of how to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration with their local SSE ecosystems. 

During this meeting cities identified which expertise they could offer to each other and determined experiences and transversal approaches they would like to learn from. In the next stage, this work will allow the creation of specific smaller peer working groups between the cities based on synergies and common interests regarding ways to improve collaboration with SSE ecosystems as a way to accelerate recovery from the pandemic effects. A more detailed analysis of specific city programs and experiences will be undertaken to, for example, bring general insights on how to improve capacity building or assist scaling of successful SSE practices.

City administrations collaboration with SSE ecosystems in not starting from scratch 

Although collaboration with SSE actors is approached differently, the exchanges allowed to find common arcs on what specific expertise cities could offer while shedding light on the need to further investigate particular issues such as the steps to go from co-creation to co-implementation.

Mechanisms of co-creation or specific collaborative processes with SSE actors are implemented, to a different extent, in several cities, some serving as good practices for other cities to learn from. For example, Dublin's Social Enterprise Awards promote social enterprises to start and grow their businesses in the city, acting, since 2015, as a connecting platform between the city and actors from the ecosystems. Guadalajara has focused on developing transversal communication strategies, Belo Horizonte is working towards digitalization together with social entrepreneurs trying to overcome the difficulties of internet access, and Bilbao has created several financial mechanisms for SSE to apply for government contracts. This last approach can be linked and complemented by Rotterdam’s experiences on how to make social impact tradable. Torino has a long tradition of co-designing solutions with diverse actors through their hubs, but still wants to figure out the best way to advance to collaborative management. For their part, Montréal’s and San Francisco’s long history of collaboration with SSE actors, or Warsaw’s with non-profit organizations, can contribute valuable insights on building long-term partnerships. 

Trust and communication, two pillars for improving collaboration

Two topics that came back regularly during the exchanges were the issues of trust and communication between all stakeholders involved in the SSE ecosystems, either service providers or end-users. How to build a solid trust between SSE actors and the population within a territory? Which role can city administrations play in creating awareness and communication strategies to encourage public spending in the SSE? How to reach vulnerable communities that may not know how to connect or trust institutions? Approaching ways to answer these questions is fundamental to help strengthen the local SSE ecosystem, but also to offer appropriate conditions for new actors to find, develop and test solutions to social challenges. 

These are some of the questions that will be at the center of the following RRR exchanges, and at the same time will integrate some of the debates during the first OECD conference of the Global Action “The Social and Solidarity Economy: from the Margins to the Mainstream”, that will take place from 13-16 September 2021.

We will keep you posted.