Meet the winners of the EU Social Economy Awards 2021

From left to right: Víctor Meseguer (SEE), Jordi Picas i Vila (SUARA), Emmanuel Verny, Angela Achitei (ADV Foundation), Jan Olsson,  Güler Altınsoy Sakar (NeedsMap), Esra Arslan (NeedsMap), Joao Leite, Juan Antonio Pedreño (SEE), Olga Maximová (Czechitas), Jeanne Bretécher (SOGA Europe), Alain Coheur (SEE, AIM, EESC) and Chris MM Gordon.

The Gala of the European Social Economy Awards 2021, took place on Tuesday 12 October in Ljubljana (Slovenia), as a hybrid event. The EU Social Economy Awards are an initiative of Social Economy Europe to boost the visibility of the social economy, its organisations and entrepreneurs and the collective solutions they propose to today’s most pressing societal, environmental, economic and technological challenges. 

The nine finalists of the EU Social Economy Awards  (three for each category) participated in the hybrid gala, and the winners, elected by a honorary jury, were annnounced. 

Needs Map/İhtiyaç Haritası Winner of the Social Innovation Category

Launched on October 7th, 2015 at the UNDP Social Good Summit, NeedsMap is a social and platform cooperative from Turkey, where people in need of something can connect with those who can help them around. A cooperative project which now aims to expand across the EU and globally. The award was collected by Güler Altınsoy Sakar (Co-Founder) and Esra Arslan (Board member) and was announced and delivered by Maravillas Espin, DG for Social Economy of the Spanish Government, and Anne-Lise Barberon, Advocay Coordinator at Groupe VYV

Som Energia Winner of the Green Transition Category

Som Energia is a not-for-profit renewable energy cooperative (Rescoop) producing and distributing renewable energy across Spain. Created in 2010 by 150 citizens/members, today Som Energia has 74,995 members, more than 133,000 clients and produces 24.60 GWh/per year of green energy. The Award was collected by Jaume Josa, Board member of the cooperative and long-standing activist and cooperator working for a citizen-led energy transition. The award was announced by jury members Antonella Noya (OECD, who participated online) and Vic Van Vuuren (UNTFSSE and ILO, who was in person in Ljubljana).

Czechitas Winner of  the Digitalisation & Skills Category

Czechitas is a non-profit social enterprise made up of young women and men who all share one common goal: to increase diversity in the world of IT and to fight for a higher level of digital proficiency among women and in the new generation. Czechitas motivates and educates thousands of women and hundreds of children that have discovered the world of information technology. They teach them to programme, code and work with data. Olga Maximová, Head of Nonprofit Development at Czechitas received the Social Economy Award on behelf of the social enterprise. The award was announced and delivered to Ms. Maximová by Nena Dokuzov (Head of Project Group for New Economy and Blockchain at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of Slovenia) and Tadej Slapnik (Chair of the Slovenian chapter of Catalyst 2030). 

Four Special Awards to Social Economy Leaders that opened new paths for the European Social Economy

From left to right: Jan Olsson, Juan Antonio Pedreño, Alain Coheur, Emmanuel Verny and Joao Leite

After these three categories, SEE President Juan Antonio Pedreño took the floor to deliver four special awards to four inviduals that have devoted efforts, intelligence, passion and energy to build and consolidate Social Economy Europe and the European Social Economy community. President Pedreño stressed:

We are the result of our history, we continue the path that others opened before. Social Economy Europe is sensitive to this, to the legacy of all those who have worked to build this organisation and to strengethen the EU Social Economy community. This is what we are honouring today. We are an economy at the service of people, and acknowledging our people should be part of our DNA.
Juan Antonio Pedreño
President of SEE

SEE special awards were delivered to three social economy leaders that retired shortly before or during the COVID-19 pandemic: Jan Olsson (former Co-Chair of REVES Network, EESC member and VP of SEE), Emmanuel Verny (former General Delegate of ESS-France and VP of SEE) and Joao Leite (former Coordinator of International Relations at CASES and member of SEE Board of Directors). During his speech, Jan Olsson also paid tribute to his friend, comrade and former Chair of the European Parliament’ Social Economy Intergroup, Jens Nilsson, who sadly passed away in 2017.

SEE President also delivered a special award to his predecessor and current Vice-President of SEE(on behalf of AIM) and EESC member, Alain Coheur, who led the organisation during an important transition period in which the organisation was formally registered and changed its name from CEP-CMAF to Social Economy Europe.

These special European Social Economy Awards were a highly emotional moment for the SEE family, a moment to remind where do we come from and to celebrate what we have achieved by working together!

The European Social Economy Awards 2021 (see image above) have been designed by the Spanish artist and cooperator José Antonio Lucas. The Award represents a rowing boat in which all of individuals, women and men of different backgrounds, join their forces to achieve a common collective or societal objective.

The seven runners’ up – ADV Foundation and Innatura for the Social Innovation Category; CONSUM and Staramaki for the Green Transition Category; and SUARA and SOGA Europe for Digitalisation and Skills- also received artworks as an award made by artists at Créahm Liège (Belgium), an artistic and societal social economy project aiming to improve the life and support the artistic expression of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. 🎥Discover here more about Créahm, its museum in central Liège (the TrinkHall museum) and about the amazing artits and cretors of the runners’ up awards: Patrick HanocqMichel Petiniot and Guillaume Paps.

To conclude, this first edition of the EU Social Economy Awards would not have been possible without the vision and efforts of SEE members, SEE President and the SEE team, nor without the support of our amazing sponsors: the Region of MurciaCAJAMAR Cooperative Bank, VYV GroupONCE Social GroupHefameCEPES and the Ministry of Economy and Technology of Slovenia. Furthermore, the work of the Social Economy Awards High-level Jury deserves to be celebrated.

Further to three winners and seven runners up, a TOP 10 of the best applications per category has been recently published. A podcast on the three winners is being prepared and a book with the over 100 applications will be published by the end of the year.

The second edition of the European Social Economy Awards will take place in the second semester of 2023, coinciding with the Spanish Presidency of the Council. Stay tuned!

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