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European Forum on Social Entrepreneurship

26 March 2013

Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Ivanka Shalapatova today opened the European Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The forum includes a European conference on "Social entrepreneurship - the basis for sustainable growth" and Fair for social enterprises and cooperatives for people with disabilities. The exhibition will run until March 24 in the Court of International Fair Plovdiv.

"MLSP promotes the development of social entrepreneurship. We seek mechanisms and by means of e-government to become better in serving the citizens by ensuring equal access, it makes no difference whether these are people with disabilities or people at risk,"said Deputy Minister Shalapatova. She outlined the benefits of social entrepreneurship, with a focus on flexibility initiatives and new models of active social support.

"Children and people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups have great potential. Investing in the potential of these people helps Europe and Bulgaria respectively in overcoming a number of economic and demographic challenges, "said Deputy Minister Shalapatova.

She participated in the conference "Social entrepreneurship - the basis for sustainable growth," and became acquainted with European and national best practices in the field of social entrepreneurship.

Organizers of the International Forum were European Commission, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the European Confederation of production cooperatives and social enterprises and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. It comprises nine national organizations represented by 70 specialized cooperatives and social enterprises. There are also 17 foreign social structures from Belgium, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Austria, Norway, Greece and Malta.

Exhibitors provided clothing, furniture, plastic and wood products, clothing and footwear, products for people with hearing and speech problems.