We had the opportunity to attend the Global Social Economy Forum in September 2016 in Montreal. Of the many tracks and conferences, we are sharing one on Access to Financing.
Coop57 and Ayuntamiento de Sabadell both from Spain, were the panelists. Their funds supports projects involved in the social economy, where founders have a clear idea of what they want to do, but have poor financial or execution skills to make it happen. They get funding and support to manifest their idea. The funding also includes community involvement to reduce the risk.
The city offer spaces, land to build homes, creates occupation plan if the state can finance individuals that were unemployed. They also offers public services through a coop platform. After a census to evaluate the employment needs, they created coops to fulfill these needs.
Records are kept for all community-based interest-free loans given and what they were used for, and is shared with the public. If a project doesn’t want to have this information public, then they cannot receive the loan as transparency is key. All the projects need to be cooperatively owned.
The International Association of Investors in the Social Economy (INAISE) is a global network of socially and environmentally oriented financial institutions where social investors from all over the world have joined forces to exchange experience, disseminate information, and show that money can actually used to achieve positive social and environmental change.