On 23-24 February, Milan hosted a study visit for members of EUROCITIES working group smart social inclusion to present the city’s initiatives for promoting social entrepreneurship and social inclusion. Representatives from Bialystok, Brno, Katowice, Madrid, Nantes, Porto, Riga, Utrecht and Warsaw were in attendance.
At a makerspace, Milan presented its vision for new craft and digital manufacturing, and explained how it wants to bring creative industries back into the heart of cities. New craft and digital manufacturing is performed in collaboration with makerspaces, fostering cross-innovation among the manufacturing sector, creative and innovative activities, and the use of abandoned of public or private buildings. The city also presented ‘OpenCare’, a participatory engagement project aimed at redesigning care services.
In the afternoon of 23 February, participants headed to FabriQ, Milan’s first social innovation incubator. The aim of this incubator, funded by the municipality of Milan, is to support prospective entrepreneurs who create projects with high social impact. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives from enterprises incubated at FabriQ, which are now fully sustainable companies.
On the second day, Renato Galliano, Milan’s director of urban economy and labour, presented several initiatives taken by the city to ensure an inclusive society. He underlined the importance of the participatory process in creating Milan’s economic and social policies, highlighting Milan’s economic success as a result of this process. Participants were then told about the city’s new civic crowdfunding platform created to support the development of citizens' ideas for for-profit and non-profit projects.
The meeting concluded with discussions on the role of local authorities in promoting social entrepreneurship and how they can make sure that the potential of social entrepreneurs is harnessed to the benefit of society as a whole.
The next meeting of WG smart social inclusion will take place in Brno on 1-2 June. More information to follow.
More information about this study visit can be found in the presentations hereunder (login required).