The Swiss Social Economy Forum (SSEF) is a platform for cross-sectoral and supra-regional networking of social entrepreneurs and promotes cooperation and strategic partnerships between players within the social economy.

The Swiss Social Economy Forum is a
platform for cross-sectoral and supra-regional networking of social entrepreneurs and promotes cooperation and strategic partnerships between players in the social economy.

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#SSEF creates a Swiss-wide public stage for topics related to impact-oriented business for stakeholders from practice, science, politics and civil society. The social economy and thus social entrepreneurs contribute substantially to prosperity in Switzerland. #SSEF is contributing to raising awareness of this sector and is improving the framework conditions for the social economy.

#SSEF is organized every year in a different Swiss city and with a specific focus topic. The next edition will take place in spring 2022. Organizer of the forum is SENS, the national platform for social entrepreneurship Switzerland. SENS represents and promotes impact-oriented enterprises in Switzerland and is the competence center for issues related to social entrepreneurship.

#SSEF21

The first Swiss Social Economy Forum #SSEF21 took place online on May 7, 2021 with the topic Social Entrepreneurship as a transformative force for a sustainable economy.

The #SSEF21 was streamed live from Hall 7 in Basel and moderated by Lea Grüter. After a welcoming speech by Beat Jans, President of the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Eric Nussbaumer, President of SENS, introduced the topic of Social Economy & Social Entrepreneurship. The opening was rounded off by several intro statements from leading personalities from Switzerland and Europe.

On the main stage, social entrepreneurs and experts of the social economy discussed various topics in panels: What is the status quo, potential and challenges of the social economy & social entrepreneurship in Switzerland? What role do cooperatives play as part of the social economy? What framework conditions does the social economy need in order to develop optimally? The Closing Session took a look across the border: Where does the social economy stand in European countries and what can we learn from you? In between, three exciting personalities shared insights into their social work in the Stories of Success format. Success stories drei spannende Persönlichkeiten Einblicke in ihr gesellschaftliches Wirken.

Parallel to the program on the Main Stage, Digital Sessions & Workshops took place, which interactively and in smaller groups delved into various practice-relevant topics.

During the forum, participants could get in touch with other visitors through hopin's networking tool, despite the digital execution. In addition, during #SSEF21 there was an exhibition area where more than 15 organizations were present.

The program on the main stage was recorded and can be viewed here:

What is the status quo, potential and challenges of the social economy & social entrepreneurship in Switzerland?
This was debated by:

  • Jenny Schäpper-Uster, Co-Founder VillageOffice Cooperative
  • Dr. Georg von Schnurbein, Professor of Foundation Management and Director of the Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS) at the University of Basel
  • Anita Wyman, Chairman of the Board of Alternative Bank Schweiz AG
  • Dr. Beni Rohrbach, Research & Development SENS
  • Pia Tschannen, founder & co-owner fairness at work gmbh (moderator)

In between, three exciting personalities shared insights into their social work in the Stories of Success format.
Featuring:

  • Ursina Haslebacher, reCIRCLE
  • Barbara Buser, architect & partner baubüro in situ
  • Paola Gallo, CEO Jobfactory

What role do cooperatives play as part of the social economy?
Participants were:

  • Andreas Appenzeller, Staff Office Special Projects ADEV Energy Cooperative
  • Clara Vuillemin, Co-Founder Republik & Project R cooperative
  • Dominik Waser, Founder rampe21 food cooperative
  • Max Ruhri, Member of the Executive Board Freie Gemeinschaftsbank
  • Regina Natsch, lawyer & expert in cooperative law (moderator)

What framework conditions does the social economy need in order to develop optimally? This question was discussed by representatives from politics, practice and research:

  • Nik Gugger, Member of the National Council EVP
  • Melanie Mettler, Member of the National Council GLP
  • Adrian Wiedmer, Managing Director Gebana AG
  • Samuel Brülisauer, Research Analyst UNRISD
  • Helen Issler, former deputy editor-in-chief SF DRS (moderator)

The Closing Session took a look across the border: Where does the social economy stand in European countries and what can we learn from you? Discussed:

  • Sofia Breitholtz, CEO Reach for Change
  • Veerle Klijn, Project Manager, Euclid Network Euclid Network
  • Patrick Klein, Head of Sector Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship | European Commission
  • Micha Wunsch, Manager Scientific Co-operations Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland (Moderation)

Thanks to our supporters

FAQ

Social economy and thus social entrepreneurs contribute substantially to prosperity in Switzerland. Why? Social entrepreneurship combines economic activity with positive social impact and thus helps solving current social challenges.

While social entrepreneurship has already made it onto the political agenda in Germany and the EU, for example, awareness of this sector is still low in Switzerland. #SSEF2021 aims to change this. For the first time, a national conference on this important topic is being launched and brings together different actors.

Yes. Whether you are already working in the social economy, a social entrepreneur yourself, or simply interested in the topic - everyone is welcome!

Social entrepreneurs are impact-oriented, economically active and have inclusive governance, i.e. stakeholders are included in decision-making processes.

This business understanding is based on research by EMES and the OECD and is complemented by SENS with the following five principles for social entrepreneurship:

  • Having positive social, environmental or cultural impact (social mission) is the main purpose of the social entreprise
  • At least 50% of revenues are generated from services or products
  • Surplus profits are, to a large extent, reinvested in social impact activities
  • Decision-making power remains exclusively within the social entreprise
  • Stakeholders are given opportunities to participate

How widespread is social entrepreneurship in Switzerland? In which economic sectors are social entrepreneurs active? The Social Entrepreneurship Monitor 2020 provides a comprehensive overview of social entrepreneurship in Switzerland.

The term social economy describes the part of an economic system that is essentially focusing on services that benefit society. 

This includes social entrepreneurs, cooperatives, non-profit associations, foundations, but also other forms of businesses with a positive social impact as their purpose. Social economy actors engage in a large number of different commercial activities and offer a wide range of products and services. Across Europe, there are over two million companies active in the social economy.

The SSEF is organized by SENS, the national platform for social entrepreneurship in Switzerland. SENS represents and promotes impact-oriented entreprises in Switzerland and is the competence center for issues related to social entrepreneurship.

Social economy and thus social entrepreneurs contribute substantially to prosperity in Switzerland. Why? Social entrepreneurship combines economic activity with positive social impact and thus helps solving current social challenges.

While social entrepreneurship has already made it onto the political agenda in Germany and the EU, for example, awareness of this sector is still low in Switzerland. #SSEF2021 aims to change this. For the first time, a national conference on this important topic is being launched and brings together different actors.

Yes. Whether you are already working in the social economy, a social entrepreneur yourself, or simply interested in the topic - everyone is welcome!

Social entrepreneurs are impact-oriented, economically active and have inclusive governance, i.e. stakeholders are included in decision-making processes.

This business understanding is based on research by EMES and the OECD and is complemented by SENS with the following five principles for social entrepreneurship:

  • Having positive social, environmental or cultural impact (social mission) is the main purpose of the social entreprise
  • At least 50% of revenues are generated from services or products
  • Surplus profits are, to a large extent, reinvested in social impact activities
  • Decision-making power remains exclusively within the social entreprise
  • Stakeholders are given opportunities to participate

How widespread is social entrepreneurship in Switzerland? In which economic sectors are social entrepreneurs active? The Social Entrepreneurship Monitor 2020 provides a comprehensive overview of social entrepreneurship in Switzerland.

The term social economy describes the part of an economic system that is essentially focusing on services that benefit society. 

This includes social entrepreneurs, cooperatives, non-profit associations, foundations, but also other forms of businesses with a positive social impact as their purpose. Social economy actors engage in a large number of different commercial activities and offer a wide range of products and services. Across Europe, there are over two million companies active in the social economy.

The SSEF is organized by SENS, the national platform for social entrepreneurship in Switzerland. SENS represents and promotes impact-oriented entreprises in Switzerland and is the competence center for issues related to social entrepreneurship.

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About SENS

The SSEF is organized by SENS, the national platform for social entrepreneurship in Switzerland. SENS represents and promotes impact-oriented entreprises in Switzerland and is the competence center for issues related to social entrepreneurship.

More about us and our work: www.sens-suisse.ch

Kontakt: forum@sens-suisse.ch