29 June 2016

Social innovators and decision makers join efforts to end unemployment in Southern Europe

"Social business has become a key actor for the delivery of the Union's social and employment agenda. Today more than ever, we do need entrepreneurs who dare to develop their business in view of generating positive social impact and societal changes. This Works summit showed again how dynamic and innovative social business is." Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility


In Germany, JobAct fosters self-discovery through theatre and arts to increase employability. French initiative La Ruche qui dit Oui has created a new distribution system to generate entrepreneurial opportunities by bringing local producers directly to the consumer. Through a simple market mechanism Regionalwert AG has created an accessible financial investment opportunity that is changing the structure of the agriculture sector.

This Works Summit in Brussels united social innovators with policy makers and foundations to spread these and many other solutions for employment and recovery to Southern Europe and beyond and shape the future of the region. 


"None of us would be successful if we don't work together: public, social enterprises, business" Marie Ringler, Ashoka Europe



Over the past years, the headlines surrounding Italy, Spain and Greece have painted a doomsday picture of Southern Europe’s economic situation. With youth unemployment rates averaging nearly 50% in some areas, an increasingly frustrated population has been turning to both policy makers and entrepreneurs for help. 

This Works launched two years ago when European social innovators seized the opportunity and worked together to create new models that offer a more dynamic approach to resolving local, national and European unemployment.


The initiative, launched by Ashoka and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, looked for proven innovative solutions tackling unemployment around the world and helped to replicate and adapt them in Southern Europe, where local communities were eager to attract and adapt these solutions to their own conditions and needs. So far, This Works has scaled 17 solutions to Southern Europe with more than 3,000 people receiving training and 1,500 people who found a job in Italy, Spain and Greece. 


"The discussions today left me quite optimistic but the journey needs to continue. We are looking for other actors to step in and build a sustainable movement” Atje Drexler, Robert Bosch Stiftung


The Summit, held under the patronage of the European Parliament, aimed to illustrate first-hand the power of scaling proven social innovations across the region and inspire bolder and grounded employment policies throughout the European Union.

During the event, ten outstanding social innovators and their partners discussed how the programmes they developed could be transferred and applied elsewhere in Europe to scale their social impact. 


View phtos of the event here!

Watch here the welcome word of Commissioner Thyssen in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility