Last April 18 marked a unique historic milestone for those working to advance and consolidate the social and solidarity economy (SSE). At its 66th plenary meeting, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development” (A/77/L.60). This resolution aims to advance and consolidate SSE by acknowledging that it can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
With this framework in mind aiming to acknowledge social and solidarity economy principles as pillars of transformative action, EMES International Research Network organised a study visit, “Building up a supporting ecosystem for cooperative entrepreneurship in Madrid”. A group of representatives from the Danish Cooperative Employers’ Organisation, Koperationen, joined us during a two-day visit to the Spanish capital.
Aiming to share some unique cooperative experiences, this study visit inspired our guests on how to help the social economy and cooperative sector in the Helsingør area grow. The participants had an opportunity to visit cooperative experiences in different neighbourhoods of Madrid, including the “trendy“ Lavapies or the more working-class Ventilla. They met the protagonist themselves: in addition to visiting their facilities or shops, participants talked with leading people who formed the teams leading to the emergence and consolidation of these cooperatives.
The social and solidarity economy thrives on promoting an inclusive, sustainable and collaborative economic model that places the needs of people and the planet at the centre. We have seen Madrid’s cooperatives result from a long story of citizens’ resistance and cooperation and the various tensions with public administrations, local and national. Nowadays, they are part of a thriving ecosystem that supports the participation of citizens in general but particularly encourages the collective entrepreneurship of youth, migrants and women.
With this initiative, we hope that we were able to provide a firsthand, enriching learning experience that will lead to new collaborations and help the SSE values and principles worldwide to grow.