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Social Enterprise – Bridge Between the Social Sector and Traditional Business (SE-Bridge)

Project Title
Social Enterprise – Bridge Between the Social Sector and Traditional Business (SE-Bridge)
Type of Contract/Category
Grant contract
IPA Component/ (national or regional) Programming year
IPA 2, Cross border cooepration: former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Republic of Albania, allocations 2014-2015
Lead applicant and co-applicants
Lead Partner: Foundation Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development – CEED Macedonia Partner 1: Association for Research, Communications and Development Public, Skopje Partner 2: Centre for Training of Rural Women in Diber District – Agritra Vizion Affiliated Entity: Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development – CEED Albania

Social economy and social enterprises (SEs) have an important role and impact as suppliers in the market. There are 2 million SEs in Europe, comprising 10% of all EU businesses. More than 11 million people (6% of all employees in the EU) work in social economy enterprises (European Commission, 2016). Even though in the Western Balkan (WB) region the development of SEs is in its beginnings, SEs are considered potentially effective models to solve social issues impacting marginalized groups in the society (Varga&Villany, 2011). The partnerships between the traditional business sector (TBS) and SEs lead to building truly inclusive business models, making the benefits for businesses, both in terms of access to products, and access to markets, while at the same time investing in the development of communities. SEs are bridge between social sector and TBS.

Abstract (short project summary)

SE-Bridge is a two-year project that started its implementation on November 15th, 2017. The project will devote its efforts to strengthening social enterprises (SEs) and social entrepreneurship in these regions through supporting formation of new SE start-ups, building their capacities as well the capacities of the existing SEs, enabling business cooperation with the traditional business sector (TBS) as well as facilitating SEs’ access to new markets and finance opportunities.

In order to achieve these objectives, SE-Bridge will focus on helping all included regions recognize SEs’ role, understand their importance in the overall economy and society, thus support their growth and create conditions for setting-up more SEs. Moreover, the project will work on building capacities of the existing ones, especially through inciting cooperation with the traditional business sector. The project will work on helping existing SEs to strengthen and grow, connecting them with companies from the TBS, while at the same time working with TBS companies on raising their knowledge and understanding of SE sector. Through raising awareness and sharing good examples of cooperation between SEs and TBS within its events and PR activities, SE-Bridge will work on rousing interest in this sector, increasing the number of SEs in the cross-border region and intensifying their general business activity and cooperation with TBS. Special focus will be put on integrating vulnerable groups in the labour market.

Final beneficiary
Final beneficiaries of this project include SE’s start-ups in the cross-border region, their owners and employees, owners and employees of companies in the TBS, as well as vulnerable groups in the region. Also, overall population in the region will benefit from the action since their economic position will be improved, the conditions for starting and conducting SEs will be improved, the number of SEs will increase in both countries, which will lead to new employments and improved cross-border business cooperation.
Action location/s
It shall be implemented in the Macedonia – Albania cross-border region, with focus on Diber Region in Albania and South-West Region in Macedonia, covering additional two cross-border regions (one in each country).

To achieve its purpose, the project will focus on several specific objectives:

§ Raising awareness and building knowledge on social entrepreneurship among cross-border population, relevant stakeholders and among the traditional business sector (TBS), in both countries;

§ Building capacities of individuals for starting and conducting SEs through training, mentorship, coaching, facilitating opportunities for cross-border (CB) and cross-sectoral cooperation and access to finance (A2F) opportunities;

§ Strengthening the existing SEs in the CB region through facilitating contacts and partnerships with the TBS companies – enabling SEs’ growth and increased turnover;

§ Supporting employment/self-employment of vulnerable groups (single parents, long-term unemployed, people with disabilities) and promoting their work integration in the CB region;

§ Enhancing business cooperation (especially in the cross-border region) and enabling access to new markets.

The project will reach these objectives through implementing sets of various activities, organized in 3 complementary project components:


I – Capacity Building Component (CB)

Within this component, capacity building activities will be designed and conducted in both countries. These activities will address the target groups through group trainings combined with personal (customized) approach, and will be organized with a purpose to build the capacities of the three central groups:


ü owners of existing SEs in the cross-border region,

ü people who want to start new SEs in the cross-border region, and

ü TBS companies.


II – Business Cooperation and Networking Component (BCN)

Key focus of this component will be establishing, strengthening and intensifying contacts and cooperation between the social enterprise sector and traditional business sector. Through this component, the project will enable and continuously facilitate direct contacts among companies (SEs and TBS companies) in order to incite their cooperation and growth, and achieve mutual benefits for both sectors and both countries. This will be done through organizing cross-border B2Bs (one on each side of the border), networking sessions within project events, matchmaking activities, as well as through organizing one cross-border SE’s fair towards the end of the project.


III – Communication and Monitoring & Evaluation Component (CM&E)

This activity will be conducted through field and desktop research. For the needs of the field survey (at the beginning of project implementation) we will apply qualitative approach. Through a desktop research, including document and policy analysis, we will identify the international good practices for nurturing the SEs development within the existing regulatory framework. Direct contacts will be made (meetings and discussions) with relevant institutions and policy makers, not only to collect relevant information for research purposes, but also to advocate for policy change. In order to achieve this, the project will:


A4.1 Develop a policy study for the CB region;

A4.2 Disseminate a policy brief among the relevant institutions and policy makers, as well as the relevant civil scene.


Within the third component, the project will have a work package focused on communicating project activities and results i.e. outreach activities aimed at reaching out to the public and the relevant stakeholders in the most effective way.



– Training curricula and training materials developed (for SE start-ups, for existing SEs, for TBS companies, and for pitching skills)

– At least 80 participants attended 6 groups of the TP for SE start-ups

– At least 60 personal plans developed and 120 mentorship meetings delivered

– At least 45 participants from TBS companies have attended 4 groups of training for TBS companies

– At least 80 participants from existing SEs have attended the 6 groups of TP for SEs

– One research methodology delivered (research plan)

– Research report published

– Three databases developed: for existing SEs in the CB region, relevant organizations and bodies both in Macedonia and Albania and for TBS companies

– Designed video and printed materials for promotion of project activities and for raising awareness.

– New SEs established within project implementation (as outcome of project implementation)

– At least 10 new partnerships established between TBS companies and SEs

– Six SEs/individuals awarded up to 3000 EUR grants for developing their SEs

– One list/database of funding organizations in the region developed.

– At least 2 B2B events organized and delivered

– At least one fair organized and delivered

– At least 40 participants pitch their ideas in front of committee or awarding grants (at 4 events)


– Increased numbers of SEs in the region

– Increased number of partnerships among SEs and TBS companies

– Adopted more favourable legislation regarding SEs

– TBS companies and SEs positive perception of quality of structures and mechanisms in place for dialogue and cooperation

Facts & Figures

The key facts figures relevant to the project:

• Project duration: 24 months

• Start date of the project: 15.11.2017

• End date of the project: 15.11.2019


• Cost of the action:  291.577,44 €

• EU contribution: 247.836,57 €

• EU contribution percentage: 85 %

Final useful footnotes

Include at the bottom of the page the statement

For more information:  followed by an appropriate web address and contact details

Contact e-mails:

Contact phones: +389 2 3079 611 and + 389 2 322 5022

Partners’ web-sites: