The fourth successive Forum on Social Entrepreneurship took place from 26 to 29 March 2015 covering an international fair involving more than 100 social enterprises from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Belgium, Italy and Spain, a Fashion Show of clothes produced by social enterprises, an European Conference on Social Entrepreneurship for Growth and Jobs, and different workshops on the social economy.
Ivaylo Kalfin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Policy opened the Forum, which attracted more than 30,000 visitors. Since 2003, the European Year of People with Disabilities, NUWPC, the National Union of workers’ productive cooperatives in Bulgaria, has organized and held national exhibitions of social enterprises and cooperatives of people with disabilities.
Since 2012, the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives, these exhibitions have grown into international events and enjoy increasing interest of the media, social enterprises, politicians and the general public. This year, the Forum was attended by Marko Curavić and Risto Raivio, representatives of the European Commission and by Manuel Mariscal, President of CICOPA, the International organisation of worker and social cooperatives.
Besides, leaders and experts from the European Economic and Social Committee, from federations and centres of social enterprises from France, Spain and Italy shared their experience. The event was co-organised by CECOP and its Bulgarian member NUWPC with the support of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and non-governmental organisations under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME).