Mobilising European funds in favour of the SSE
Kit RégionalESS N°12
Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)
In connection with the renewal of regional executives in June 2021, RTES proposes a Regional SSE kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future regional teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).
This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies. Sheets 1 and 2 of the RegionalESS kit are SSE presentation sheets. They can be consulted under the references Social and Solidarity Economy: What are we talking about? (handout n°2504.) and Why implement a cross-cutting policy to support the social and solidarity economy? (fact sheet n°2505).
Sheet 12 shows the important role to be played by regions in terms of accessibility of SSE actors to European funds.
In France, regional councils are the managing authority of European structural and investment funds (FESI). The regions manage, alongside the departmental councils and/or the State, the ESF+ (European Social Fund), the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development).
The ESFs are an important funding lever for SSE and contribute to the realisation of many initiatives in fields as varied as employment, energy, transport, business creation, research and innovation, for example social innovation. In fact, regions have an important role to play in terms of accessibility of SSE actors to these European funds.
Communicate on the opportunity to mobilise the ESIF
Promote transversality and transmission of information between the European funds management services and the services in charge of SSE development in order to make regional SSE actors aware of the calls for projects;
Promote SSE initiatives supported by SSEF in the general and specialised communication of the region, etc.
To make known the resources on which SSE actors can rely on to mobilise the FESI (by referencing, for example, on a website the support structures for assistance in preparing applications).
Include SSE in the Regional Operational Programmes (ROP)
Ensure the eligibility of SSE structures to the different actions, for example by specifying that SSE legal structures meet the definition of SME in the European sense: associations, cooperative structures (including SCIC and SCOP), and enterprises holding the « social utility solidarity enterprises » approval.
Devote one or more specific action sheets to the development of SSE structures.
Supporting SSE structures in mobilising ESIFs
Through the support to support structures specialised in the mobilisation of European funds or through the creation of mechanisms directly supported by the region, regional authorities can facilitate the mobilisation of ESIF for SSE structures.
For example, the New Aquitaine region has chosen to have an instructor within the SSE Department: a project manager who accompanies project leaders and examines the applications.
This allows for in-depth knowledge and analysis of the projects, securing the success of the project and its sustainability, mobilising suitable partners and facilitating the articulation between the Region’s funds and European funds.
The New Aquitaine region also finances Laba, a skills centre specialising in European funding in the creative and cultural industries sector.
In Brittany, the ERDF is mobilised to support TAgs via the CRESS
In Brittany, an action sheet to support the development of socially innovative activities and the social and solidarity economy was created during the 2014/2020 programming period. This action sheet aims to support the structures carrying out action programmes promoting the development of socially useful economic activities that meet the needs of the territory. It was developed in co-construction with the actors, in order to support the actions of support to the project leaders carried by the TAgs (propellants of collective entrepreneurship). CRESS Bretagne carries out the action and the cash advance for the 4 funded TAgs that would never have been able to do so directly.
Facilitating access to the smallest SSE structures
The regions can create specific schemes for the smallest SSE structures whose cash flow and human resources do not allow them to respond to « classic » ROP calls for projects. Several regions have thus developed micro-project schemes, such as the Grand Est region where the micro-project scheme is led by the CRESS Grand Est (action financed under Axis 2 of the Alsace ESF ROP for the 2014/2020 programming period). The scheme finances innovative actions in the SSE and job creation as well as experimentations that can be spun off.
Relying on networks of actors
In order to promote the dissemination of information to SSE actors, but also to raise awareness and train actors to mobilise the ROP, it is particularly important to work with networks of actors: CRESS, sectoral networks, etc. It can also be useful to rely on these networks for the evaluation of applications and projects.
In the Grand-Est region, the projects presented within the framework of the micro-projects scheme are thus evaluated by a selection committee composed of the CRESS, local authorities and France Active.
Facilitating management and avoiding cash flow problems
Substantial cash advance, use of OCS packages (simplified costs option), development of tools and financial instruments in connection with France Active in particular, possible mobilization of technical assistance funds by local authorities and CRESS to support project leaders,… these are all levers that regions can mobilize to facilitate the administrative management of the ESIF.
Facilitate the registration of SSE actors in European programmes
Mobilise the internal expertise of the region’s services to monitor European programmes or to put them in contact with European partners (for example via the regions’ European offices).
Take charge of the project set-up phase.
The AMPLI system in the New Aquitaine region
On the strength of the experience acquired through the management of former measures 10b and 4.2.3, the Regional Council of New Aquitaine has created the AMPLI scheme. This aid is targeted primarily at new structures, and is provided after a feasibility study and before the start of the activity.
It is an operating aid of €20,000 that finances the structuring phase, the consolidation of the economic model and the creation of the first job in the activity, with an advance of 60%, which is essential for SSE projects that are being launched. This aid is part of a partnership with SSE support actors (CRESS, France Active, DLA, incubators, Urscop, etc.) which guarantees the quality of guidance and support. 122 projects have been supported from 2015 to 2019, such as: ZE DRIVE (zero waste drive); a third place dedicated to wood materials in Bordeaux; a slow tourism activity « Escapades insolites » by bicycle, etc.
In Hauts-de-France, the FRAPPE scheme
The FRAPPE is a support system for the engineering of project leaders on European sectoral programmes which intervenes on two axes. FRAPPE consulting is an aid to regional project leaders wishing to participate in European-scale projects as coordinator, lead partner or leader, for the setting up and/or monitoring of projects. The region finances consultant days that can cover different aspects of the project (help in defining the project, support in finding partners, methodological advice, help in defining the impact, etc.). The FRAPPE grant is an aid to « first-time » project leaders to develop partnerships. With a ceiling of €6,000, this grant supports the travel necessary to exchange with European partners, define consortium agreements and carry out translations.
To go further
RTES RepèrESS Europe & SSE, challenges and levers of action for local authorities, 2018
Feedback on the RTES seminar of 23 January 2020: How to promote the consideration of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) in the drafting of ROPs and facilitate the access of SSE structures to structural funds?
Avise’s Europe page: www.avise.org/territoires/europe
ANCT website « Europe in France »: www.europe-en-france.gouv.fr/fr