Gala of the 2nd edition of the European Social Economy Awards, 14th November 2023

The 14th evening the 2nd edition European Social Economy Awards Gala was organized in the beautiful premises of the Tabakalera, on the last floor with a breathtaking view over the city of San Sebastian. Chris Gordon, CEO of the Irish Social Enterprise Network, was the master of ceremony which welcomed 120 guests in person and more than 100 online.

The high participation could be noticed not only by the high level of participations, but also by the number of candidatures received: 271 candidatures from 29 countries, 19 of which from the European Union. They could run for 4 different categories: skills (10% of candidatures), social innovation (57%), green transition (25%) and digital transition (8%). 

Beyond the great candidatures received, SEE is thankful to the sponsors who, together with the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, made the organization of this Gala possible: CEPES, Ceramiche Noi, DIESIS, Fundación HEFAME, Government of the Region of Murcia, Grupo Social ONCE and UCOMUR. Without them the gala wouldn’t have been as exceptional. 

Special thanks also go to the high level jury that participated in the selection of the winners. It was composed by representatives of EU institutions highly committed to SE such as Anna Athanasopoulou (Head of Unit. Proximity, Social Economy and Creative Industries. Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission), Brigitte Fellahi-Brognaux (Head of Unit. Social and Inclusive Entrepreneurship. Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. of the European Commission), Giuseppe Guerini (Member of the EESC) as well as Ricardo Rio (Member of the EU Committee of the Regions); member of the Spanish government: Víctor Meseguer Sánchez (Special Commissioner for Social Economy, Ministry of Labor and Social Economy) and Maravillas Espín Sáez (General Director of Self-Employment, Social Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility, Ministry of Labor and Social Economy); and last but not least members of SEE bureau: President Juan Antonio Pedreño Frutos as well as Vice-Presidents Alain Coheur, Jerome Saddier and Patrizia Bussi. 

And of course SEE cannot thank enough the members of the pre-selection jury:  Nuria Guilló and Carlos Lozano from CEPES, Ilana Gotz from Euricse, Alessia Sebillo from Diesis, Konstantinos Papadakis, Maria Zafiropoulou and Stelios Katomeris from PASE KALO, Pascale Zoetaert from ConcertES, Emma Murtagh from The Wheel, Michal Swarcz from TechSoup Europe and Sarah de Heusch and Paula de Diego from SEE.

The Gala was an opportunity to award not only outstanding SE organizations but also exceptional personalities that promote SE. The amazing trophies were designed by José Antonio Lucas (an artist from Murcia) as well as by Ceramiche Noi, an emblematic workers buy out cooperative engaged in the green transition.

The ceremony started with a beautiful performance by Belter Souls followed by a video on the Social Economy in Europe.

The Gala continued with welcome speeches by Eneko Goia, mayor of San Sebastian and Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of Social Economy Europe which were followed directly by the distribution of prizes.  

The first category to be presented was Skills, which awarded organizations working on improving and retraining the skills of social economy employees, potential entrepreneurs, students, etc. and/or developing training and courses related to the social economy, such as educational cooperatives, VET cooperative centers, universities, etc.

The second finalist prize (or third prize) was given to Les écoles ETRE / ETRE Schools (France), the first finalist (or second prize) was given to Fundación ONCE / Programa Radia Women’s Digital Inclusion (Spain) and the winner was Fundacion ONCE/ By Digital Talent Program (Por Talento Digital) (Spain) 

The second category of the Awards was dedicated to Social Innovation, which recognizes projects that provided innovative solutions to inclusion of vulnerable or marginalized people, such as immigrants, or other minorities far from the labor market; accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities; gender equality; LGTBI Rights; youth social entrepreneurship and inclusion of young people in the labor market; innovative social services, including innovation in care services as well as to other solutions to social problems.

Third place went to Tequio (France), second place to Ecooo Energia Ciudadana S. Coop. (Spain) and the winner was Vienna Hobby Lobby – Freizeitverein für Kinder und Jugendliche (Austria).

The next category was Green Transition that recognizes the work of companies and entities working in renewable energy, housing, sustainable mobility, circular economy, water management, sustainable food production among many others and/or in the areas of action of the Green Transition of the Transition Pathways for the ecosystem of Proximity and Social Economy.

Third prize was awarded to Comunitat Minera Olesana (Spain), second prize to Agresta S. Coop. (Spain) and the first prize awarded Energie Solidaire (France)   

Finally, the Digitalization category is intended for social economy initiatives and projects operating in the digital economy or with a strong focus on technological innovation and/or working in the Digital Transition action areas of the Transition Roadmap for the proximity and social economy ecosystem.

The third prize was awarded to Kloosiv Housing SCCL (Spain), the second prize to Open Food Network Europe (Italy) and the winner of this category was Panacea Cooperative Research S. Coop. (Spain)

The awards to SE organizations and enterprises were followed by the Institutional SEE Awards, which aim at awarding and recognizing the unconditional support, promotion and defence of outstanding personalities have made in favor of the Social Economy. These were provided to: Yolanda Díaz, 2nd Vice-President and Minister of Labor and Social Economy. Government of Spain: 

Patrizia Toia, Co-President of the Social Economy Intergroup of the European Parliament:

Ivanka Shalapatova, Minister of Labor and Social Policies of Bulgaria:

Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights:

And Sven Giegold, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (Germany):

The ceremony concluded with musical performance (as the opening) by Belter Souls, which was followed by festive a cocktail reception. 

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