Financial Mechanisms for Innovative Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems


Samuel Barco Serrano, Riccardo Bodini, Michael Roy, Gianluca Salvatori, January 2020

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Summary :

This report presents the results of the “Financial Mechanisms for Innovative Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems” project, designed to foster a better understanding of the different ways in which financial resources can be made available and accessed to support the growth of social and solidarity economy (SSE) organizations and their ecosystems. Drawing on a review of the literature on SSE ecosystems and their importance in tackling the challenges related to the future of work and local economic development, and after a careful analysis of the different types of financial suppliers and mechanisms potentially available to SSE organizations, the study looks at the evidence from eight countries around the world to draw a set of conclusions and policy recommendations. Among the key themes emerging from the work is the observation that SSE organizations routinely access many different sources of finance, but also

have specificities in terms of aims, sectors of activity, governance and ownership structures that require careful tailoring of financial sources and mechanisms in order to avoid distortions and mission drift. Without taking for granted that SSE organizations have greater difficulties than traditional companies of similar size, and without assuming that the most innovative financial instruments are also the most effective and best suited to the needs of SSE organizations, the project results call into question some of the most widespread (though often unsubstantiated) tenets on access to finance for SSE organizations and highlight the importance of a blended approach that can successfully mix internal and external, public and private, market and non- market financial sources. The aim is to support the growth of SSE ecosystems that can continue to address social problems and provide viable alternatives to their root causes.