The Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) represents a new form of economy, which combines economic efficiency and social objectives. The role of SSE for European and Alsatian economic growth has to be highlighted. In fact, in a context of economic crisis, it is crucial to spread SSE among entrepreneurs as a new form of doing business. This is why UNITEE and FEDIF Grand Est organised a conference about the challenges and opportunities which SSE presents for today’s entrepreneurs.
Given the importance of SSE for economic growth and employment in our worrying economic climate, UNITEE and FEDIF Grand Est organised a conference in UNITEE’s Strasbourg Office on March 21st, 2014 with an interesting panel of speakers:
- Ms Camille SERRES, UNITEE Strasbourg Project Manager (Moderator)
- Ms Catherine TRAUTMANN MEP (S&D), Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
- Mr Pierre ROTH, Managing Director of the Regional Chamber of the Social and Solidarity Economy of Alsace (CRESS Alsace)
How to define SSE
Today, there are two ways to define SSE, either by the juridical status of companies or by certain values. Indeed, Mr ROTH explained the idea that SSE puts people at the heart of the company: it is the concept of the primacy of man over capital. Both speakers highlighted the democratic governance of the company as each and every one has the same voice in a SSE company.
The role of SSE in the economic crisis
Playing a major role for job creation, SSE represents a chance in a context of economic crisis. Ms TRAUTMANN emphasised that SSE already accounts for the employment of 50 000 workers in Alsace and 2.4 million workers in France. Mr ROTH added that SSE companies were less affected by the crisis because they could use their reserve to save jobs and re-invest in the company. Finally, both speakers acknowledged that the economic crisis favoured the promotion of SSE.
SSE deserves more recognition
At the European level, the recognition of SSE is contested: only public limited companies and limited liability companies with a cooperative status are recognised as being part of SSE. According to Ms TRAUTMANN, one of the biggest difficulties is to recognise the actors of SSE as entrepreneurs. Mr ROTH underlined that SSE is in need of much more support and political attention. Indeed, the visibility of SSE must be enhanced considerably.