In statements while visiting Impact Hub Athens on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed the role that a social and solidarity-based economy can and must play in Greece, through cooperative social enterprises.
He emphasised the importance the government attaches to this area, as well as the steps it has taken to integrate young people into production and entrepreneurial action that yields social ?dividends?.
The Impact Hub Athens is an organisation that supports the development of entrepreneurship and innovation through business model development projects that have a positive social impact.
The prime minister described the example of the social economy as part of the government's overall plan and strategy for a different production model, one juxtaposed to the previous business model that had ?thrived morbidly? in Greece.
"During the crisis very important opportunities can arise, especially for young people who have imagination, inspiration and creativity, to set up their own business that strives to contribute to society as a whole, while at the same time giving them ways to earn a living and stay in the country," Tsipras said.
He noted: "What we did was to 'open up' the affair of the social solidarity economy to the entire population and allow it to become something that does not mainly concern specific traditional sectors but all citizens." He added that this would also encourage a wide range of innovations through a solidarity-based economy and social entrepreneurship.
The prime minister also said that the Social Economy Fund with an initial capital of 25 million euros will be activated in order to support organisations active in the social solidarity economy, which are excluded from the banking system.
Moreover, he said that another 25 million euro funds have been secured from the state budget while these companies are eligible for National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds and OAED employment programmes.
The prime minister had the opportunity to have a relaxed discussion with young people and representatives of social enterprises working at the hub. They spoke about their activities and explained that the hub offers them opportunities for synergies with other young people promoting their social enterprises.
At the start of his visit to Impact Hub Athens, the prime minister was briefed on how the project started.
Tsipras then joined a meeting with representatives of businesses active in the social economy, innovation and youth entrepreneurship sectors. Many of these dynamic young people have hired staff belonging to vulnerable social groups.
The prime minister was accompanied by Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos and Alternate Social Solidarity Minister Rania Antonopoulou.