On 27-28 March 2023, the OBCD partners gathered in Barcelona, Spain for their second transnational project meeting. These two days were about presenting an overview of the first months of the project implementation, discussing and sharing the main achievements and next steps within each working package and connecting with each other.
During their visit, the OBCD partners also had the opportunity to learn more about the development of the social and solidarity economy in the city of Barcelona by meeting different local foundations and non-profit organisations, including Aura Foundation, Mescladís Foundation and Grup ECOS.
The Aura Foundation shared its experience as a social enterprise helping to improve the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities through social and labour inclusion. After the first day of presentations, the OBCD partners had the pleasure to have a multicultural dining experience at Mescladís Foundation, a non-profit organisation contributing to fast track integration of migrants in the labor market, in the HORECA value chain, and in its own restaurant. Here, the food was an explosion of colors and flavors and the hospitality was impeccable. On the second day, they visited Grup ECOS, a social economy hub consisting of companies that aim to be an alternative to the current socio-economic model.
While having different organisational structures, strategies and goals, all these organisations shared common needs for a bottom up approach to foster community development, inclusion of disadvantaged categories in the local economy, access to more funding opportunities, recognition and support from local, regional and national authorities.
With this field trip, the OBCD partners could also answer these timely questions: how can the OBCD project respond to the needs of these organisations? How can the Open Business Model foster community development? Learning more about different local realities, but also their challenges and short-term and long-term objectives was extremely useful to fine tune and tailor the OBCD (present and future) research activities and outputs to the growing needs of the social enterprise sector.
The main takeaway from this two-day trip is that the social and solidarity economy should be the norm and not the exception. A special thanks goes to all the OBCD partners who constantly work together to make this possible.
Thank you to La Cámara de Comercio Italiana-Barcelona for organising and hosting the second OBCD transnational meeting.