The role of social enterprise in local economic development
2nd EMES International Conference on Social Enterprise Trento (Italy) - July 1-4, 2009
Karl Birkhölzer, July 2009
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Economic development cannot be identified with economic growth anymore, to
the opposite globalisation polarises the local economies, and economic development in the traditional sense will make things even worse, ending up in social as well as territorial exclusion.
Therefore the concept of social cohesion has to be enlarged by the idea of « territorial cohesion ». To achieve this we need not only a shift of paradigm from the global to the local economy, but also a radical change in the practical development strategies: Instead of focusing on the market
forces or the welfare state – which appear to be only two sides of the same coin – a new approach beyond market and state focusing on the untapped resources of people is necessary. A great number of affected social groups, neighbourhoods,towns and regions everywhere in Europe (and beyond) have searched for such a new path of development and have gained practical experience with it.They are forming a new social solidarity-based movement
during the last thirty to forty years has developed a lot of new organisations combining elements out of the traditional approaches which converge in the concept of « social enterprise ».
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