Network D Strengthening the national social economy (the third sector), in particular the services of interest to the community, with a focus on improving the quality of jobs.
Project name Masurian Phoenix
Project number D0681

Project description

The project will be implemented in the Kętrzyn Poviat. Its final beneficiaries are unemployed people originating from rural areas, former employees of State Agricultural Enterprises (SAE) and their families, especially youth and women who live in former SAE housing complexes, in particular mothers with children under school age. The latter group is at particular risk of discrimination on the labour market. The project activities will cover 200 beneficiaries altogether, 170 of whom will be under 25 years of age.

The objective of the Partnership is to develop an efficient model of initiating, operating, and financing social enterprises. The project coordinators would like to examine the possibilities for social economy to revitalise the regions where the labour markets are less attractive. This will therefore balance the inequalities between regions and prepare the long-term unemployed to return to the labour market. The Partnership will focus on developing an innovative model for establishing and operating social cooperatives in the field of the manufacturing, trading and marketing of traditional products (food products). This business area is developing rapidly all over Europe. A special feature of the cooperative will be a provision in its bylaws to assign part of the profit for social support purposes: skill improvement training, vocational training, establishing and funding youth community centres and day care facilities for dependants, initiating activities and dialogue with local authorities and businesses concerning the promotion of the whole region, as well as the improvement and development of its infrastructure, promoting and disseminating the concept of social cooperatives. These activities will contribute to the assistance of people who make a shift from social employment to the open labour market, will enhance public awareness of the potential of the third sector as regards the creation of new jobs, and will assist in the creation of a model for cooperation and understanding between local communities.

The major need in the Partnership's focus is the integration of those who are discriminated against on the labour market using an innovative model of social franchising. This concept has emerged due to the successful market performance of franchise-based enterprises. It involves a licensor and
a licensee. The licensor is an entity which has developed a successful business solution, and the licensee utilises in its business the experience, knowledge and approaches developed by the licensor. The franchisee uses the business experience (know-how) of the franchisor and the reputation of its name and trademarks, which reduces the risk associated with establishing a new business, and at the same time enables the franchisee to maintain the status of an independent entrepreneur. Social franchising - as opposed to business franchising - transfers entire know-how without charging licence fees, it only imposes the obligation to pursue the objectives stipulated by company bylaws associated with its social purpose. This system will contribute to the development of a platform of cooperation and understanding between the institutions of social economy.

The project concept focuses on the development of a social franchising model in order to create a network of social cooperatives that would obtain assistance and business consulting services from a social franchisor. This franchisor would be established with the use of the Practical Education Centre and would perform the function of a cooperative business incubator, contributing to the development of social entrepreneurship. The incubator, in turn, would play the role of a training and consulting centre, at the same time maintaining its function as a social franchisor. Therefore it will be possible to communicate the entire concept of social entrepreneurship, training, introduction into the franchising system, education and re-education to all interested parties from all over Poland. The Practical Education Centre, which will form the foundations of the incubator, has adequate resources available for this kind of activities, which will facilitate the operations of the incubator after the completion of the project and will make it more attractive, and at the same time guarantee the continuity of its activities.

The main project output is a proven, effective model for establishing, operating, and financing social enterprises operating as franchises. It will include an entrepreneurship incubator, branding strategy, and a day care facility, i.e. a youth community centre which will make it possible for women with underage children to work. The project output components include: branding methodology and marketing strategy (a defined and proven market for a local product), a catalogue of regional products and a developed method for launching such products, a model for establishing social cooperatives based on the incubator and a scheme for using the franchising concept.

This result may be widely employed, chiefly by self-governmental authorities, NGOs, businesses, socio-economic partners, groups at risk of social exclusion, labour market institutions, and organisations which support the creation of new business entities.

When developing the output dissemination strategy, the Partnership planned, among other things, to run a website ( to demonstrate the initiative. A series of meetings is also planned in the housing complexes of former State Agricultural Enterprises. Their goal will be to promote the concept of social cooperatives among the post-SAE population. The media will also be informed about the project's progress and its output on an ongoing basis.