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Call key data
Proximity and social economy industrial ecosystem: boosting the digital transition of social economy enterprises and SMEs
Single Market Programme (SMP)
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 900,000.00 and € 1,300,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The call will support transnational partnerships to boost the digital capacity of actors in the proximity and social economy industrial ecosystem.
The aim will be to enable social economy entities to turn digital challenges into opportunities, ensuring a digital transition that is fair and inclusive. In doing so the call also wants to strengthen the capacity of social economy ‘enabling organisations’ in supporting members, clients and stakeholders in their digital transition. Digitalisation can offer significant benefits, but many social economy entities still face barriers regarding the digitalisation of their production processes, services, operations impact models. Such barriers are mainly related to digital skills, know-how, access to technology, data management capacity and an enabling environment for digital business models rooted in the social economy. This call also offers the opportunity to promote Digital Social Innovation (DSI) as way to accelerate social, ecological and collective impact of actors in the social economy.
The call supports the implementation of the Transition Pathway for proximity and social economy. Applications need to address at least one of the seven action areas of the digital chapter in the transition pathway:
1. New business models – the platform economy
2. Data Maturity and data driven business models
3. Public and private tech partnerships and support
4. Data sharing, Data management & Code of Conduct
5. Supporting Digital Social Innovation & Tech for Good entrepreneurship
6. Access to technology
7. Boosting digital skills by - and in the social economy
The goals of the action should be achieved via mapping, training, coaching, capacity building, peer learning, awareness raising events and other activities in line with the primary objectives of the call.
The call for proposal targets the following outcomes:
- Increased amount of digitally skilled workforce in the SMEs in the social economy.
- Increased know-how on how digitalisation can support organisational efficiency and professionalisation.
- Improved knowledge and capacity when it comes to digitisation within “enabling organisations” supporting SMEs in the social economy.
- Increased use of new technologies and digital tools in social economy SMEs as well as overall increased digital maturity of social economy organisations.
- Enhanced Digital Social Innovation (DSI) capacity in local, regional and national social economy ecosystems.
- Increased amount of tech partnerships (physical or digital) making technology accessible affordable and adaptable through shared models supporting the development of Tech for Good.
A vibrant and varied ecosystem of social enterprises adopting social economy models enabled by digital networks and technologies.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Liechtenstein, Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна)
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with the following conditions:
- at least six independent entities from at least three different eligible countries;
- at least one social economy ‘enabling organisation’ (intermediary) per participating country involved in the consortium; the organisation can be operational at national, regional or local level;
- a minimum one and a maximum two support organisations active at EU level representing social economy entities (such as sectorial member federations and associations or networks).
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
- non-EU countries:
- listed EEA countries and countries associated to the Single Market Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
- Ukraine, as stipulated in the Eligibility criteria section of the SMP Work Programme 2023, Annex 2.
- be social economy ‘enabling organisation’ (intermediary); the organisation can be operational at national, regional or local level or
- be support organisations active at EU level representing social economy entities (such as sectorial member federations and associations or networks).
In addition, the following types of entities are encouraged to participate as applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) in the consortia:
- public authorities or organisations acting on behalf of a public authority, responsible for or active in the fields of social economy, economic affairs, industry, business support, incubation, EU funding opportunities, sustainable finance, impact investing or related fields;
- non-profit organisations, non-governmental organisations and private organisations established at European, national, regional and local level as social economy associations, federations, financial institutions, impact investors, business incubators & accelerators, business support centres, innovation hubs, chambers of commerce, consultancy providing sustainability and financing advisory services;
- IT and tech service and support providers;
- Expertise, knowledge centres, think tanks and research bodies in the area of digital training, digital social innovation, digital inclusive service provision, tech for good, social tech, digital commons, social economy based platforms, AI for good, assistive technologies, etc.
- private and profit-making entities also including social economy SMEs, mainstream SMEs and larger undertakings, and financial institutions;
- other relevant organisation.
other eligibility criteria
Maximum 20% of the total grant amount can be directed to social economy SMEs or social economy enabling (intermediary) organisations to provide financial support for their travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs to participate in activities organised by the consortium in support of their greater resilience and digital transformation.
IMPORTANT: The financial support to third parties cannot be provided through services offered by the consortium directly. The financial support to third parties must be channelled through:
- Financial support (a contribution) paid in the form of a lump sum directly to the third party selected to participate in the scope of the eligible activities listed above (such as training courses, job shadowing, peer-learning and coaching sessions, workshops, study visits, matchmaking, knowledge sharing events etc.) for travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. The selection of third parties to such activities must ensure objective criteria and transparent selection procedures and must foster transnational and cross-border cooperation. For travelling, greener modes of transport should always be favoured, when possible. The financial support to third party is eligible only if the event (such as training courses, job shadowing, peer-learning and coaching sessions, workshops, study visits, matchmaking, knowledge sharing events etc.) is organised more than 20 kilometres away from the place of establishment of the selected organisation and if the participant took part in the complete programme of the activity.
Proposals must clearly detail:
- the objectives of the support,
- the conditions for participation,
- the results to be obtained,
- the reasons why financial support to third parties is needed and how it will be managed.
- a fixed and exhaustive list of the different types of activities for which a third party may receive financial support,
- the definition of the persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support (the third party),
- the criteria for awarding financial support,
- the criteria for calculating the exact amount of the financial support (i.e. of lump sums),
- the maximum amount to be paid to each third party (may not exceed EUR 60 000 for each third party unless a higher amount is required because the objective of the action would otherwise be impossible or overly difficult to achieve and this is duly justified in the Application Form) and the criteria for determining it.
The costs for financial support to third parties will be reimbursed at a 100% rate.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
between 24 and 36 months
Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals (including annexes and supporting documents) must be submitted using the forms provided inside the Submission System ( NOT the documents available on the Topic page — they are only for information).
Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
- Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
- Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
- mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
- detailed budget table/calculator (template available in the Submission System; Tpl_Detailed Budget Table (SMP COSME GFS 90))
- list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years) (template available in Part B)
- Annex 5 to Part B - Eligibility checklist (available at EISMEA’s page here).
Your application must be readable, accessible and printable. Proposals are limited to maximum 50 pages (Part B). Evaluators will not consider any additional pages.