2 days

60+ speakers

400+ attendees

Recovery Strategy for Europe

Building a resilient and
sustainable economy



The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ consists of 8 fully digitized online events. Each roadmap event focusses on a specific topic and aims to connect different Social Economy actors in Europe in a highly interactive format, present best practices and use cases as well as provide first-hand insights in interactive sessions from changemakers all around Europe. The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ strengthen the social economy in Europe and harness its contribution to economic development, social inclusion as well as green and digital transitions. 


The 26th and the 27th of November would have been the dates for our original ‘European Social Economy Summit’ and to commemorate this, we organized a 2 days event with over 15 different stakeholder sessions from all over Europe and beyond under the suitable umbrella theme “ Recovery strategy for Europe “ , with speakers such as EU- COMMISSIONER Nicolas Schmit. Nevertheless the ‘Mannheim feeling’ was maintained by streaming the two-day event from the ‘EinTanzHaus’, which roughly translates to ‘one dance house’, an old church that was transformed into a place of significance for the local cultural scene.



26.11.2020 / FIRST DAY

10.00 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

10.10 am

Welcome by the European Commission
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights

10.15 am

Welcome by the City of Mannheim
Peter Kurz, Lord Mayor

10.20 am

Q&A on “Recovery Strategy for Europe”
Pablo Santaeufemia, CEO & Co-founder – Bridge for Billions

10.30 am

Award Ceremony European Social Innovation Competition

Three €50,000 prizes will be awarded by the European Commission for the best socially innovative projects designed to change the ways we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion, moving towards increased global sustainability and changing consumers’ behaviour. 

Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries. The Competition is organised by the European Commission with support from Nesta, Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends.

Now in its 8th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better.Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe. 

In 2020 the focus was: Reimagine Fashionchanging behaviour for sustainable fashion

This year the competition was looking for ideas and ventures that aimed to improve the environmental and social impact of the European fashion market through the development of new products, services and processes, and innovative business models. The innovations aimed to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of the fashion market, help make it more accessible and fair, and aspire to change behaviours in a sustainable way. 

Solutions also aimed at delivering impact, pursuing sustainability, and being scalable or replicable post-competition – at the local, national or European levels.

You can see the 10 finalists teams competing to win here

11.30 am

Parallel Sessions & Insights (60 minutes)

Elaine Hanlon, Social Affairs Policy Office – RREUSE
Olga Theodorikakou, Secretary-General – Klimax Plus
Nicolas Lebeau, Deputy Director of Digital Equipment Sales – Les Ateliers du Bocage
Sasha Taylor, Chief Executive Officer – The Bike Station

The session will open with a video message from the wider RREUSE network (re-use and recycling European Union Social Enterprises) highlighting the network’s resilience in previous years. With greater flexibility also comes reflection, and RREUSE members will lead an interactive discussion on how EU/ Government action and policy can better support the social and solidarity sector in the recovery of Europe and future crises. By the end of the session, participants will feel empowered to express how National and EU policy can better support resilient social and solidarity economy enterprises. A discussion will also centre around how the Social Economy Action Plan can bolster resilient and sustainable communities.

Neven Marinovic, President – Euclid Network and Executive Director of Smart Kolektiv

Katrin Elsemann, Executive Director – Social Enterprise Network Deutschland
Sameera Mehra, Head of Global Alliance and International Networks – Charities Aid Foundation
Chris MM Gordon, CEO – Irish Social Enterprise Network
Veerle Klijn, Programme and Policy Manage – Euclid Network

The time has come to collectively build a new economy that is locally embedded, inclusive, sustainable and founded on global solidarity. It are social enterprises that have been pioneering for decades and can take the lead in this transition. Therefore, social enterprise should be at the heart of Europe’s recovery strategy. In a 45 minute high-level panel discussion representatives from national networks for social enterprise will jointly present their priorities for the post COVID-19 agenda and the EU Action Plan for Social Economy.


Paula Santarén Rodríguez, International Project Manager – Social Economy / ACCIÓ
Roberta Dall’Olio, Manager of EU Policies – International Territorial Cooperation Social Innovation Unit / ART-ER
Claudia Ferrigno, Project Manager – ART-ER
Anders Bro, Development Manager – Region Örebro County
Stefan Philip, Project Manager & Research Associate – Centre for Social Innovation

Three European regional development agencies with experience in the provision of support for innovation and internationalisation to social enterprises, and one academic organisation with broad expertise on social innovation, will share their experiences on how learning from each other in the Interreg Europe project RaiSE has helped each organisation to improve the business support policies and services for social enterprises. Social enterprises in Europe contribute to maintaining jobs with inclusion of vulnerable groups even in times of crisis. Therefore, it is important that they are involved in innovation processes both at managerial and operational level. Public funding is no longer sufficient and social enterprises should have the ability to compete on the market. Doing it together can guarantee greater success. The session will bring the point of view of institutions and enterprises with examples of success and contributions to the European Action Plan for Social Economy.

Rafael Chaves Ávila, Universitat de València, President of the Scientific Commission – CIRIEC – España
Jean-Luc Bodson, Expert – SAW-B
Carlos Lozano, Coordinator of International Affairs – CEPES
Olive McCarthy, Director – Centre for Co-operative Studies & Senior Lecturer, University College Cork & Cork University Business School
Damien Thiery, Director General – Ateliere Fără Frontiere
Barbara Sak, Managing Director – CIRIEC Aisbl

Social economy needs support from public policies and meso-system actors, in order to develop its full potential and be on equal footing with regard to private for-profit entities. According to the ecosystem approach and triple helix model approach, support, coordination and collaboration between entities, public policy makers and other stakeholders is essential to unfold all the innovative governance mechanisms (incl. decent working conditions) that have been tested and practiced within social economy organisations and enterprises. With an aim of mutual learning, the objective is to confront transdisciplinary approaches from various horizons, and see how to disseminate and implement such policies in order to use at best social economy enterprises and organisations within their local roots to boost inclusive and lasting development. Policy-making processes discussed will highlight partnerships, mainstreaming, transferability/replicability and strategic public policy orientation.

12.30 pm

Lunch break & Parallel Programme

12.30 am

Crispin Waymouth, Deputy Head of Unit for SME Internationalisation – DG GROW – European Commission
Giacomo Mattino’, Head of Unit for SME Internationalisation – DG GROW – European Commission
Camille Lepinay, EEN partner – Enterprise Europe
Michael Rafn, EEN partner – EU Office in Denmark
Alessandro Rancati, Policy Analyst – JRC – European Commission
Alberto Valenzano, Policy Assistant – DG GROW – European Commission

This panel discussion enriches the run-up to the European Social Economy Summit with an SME perspective on the Recovery Strategy for Europe. The 45 minutes panel discussion will deal with three core questions: 1. What is the role of SMEs in the social economy and why are they important? 2. How can best practices from the Social Economy help SMEs and SME support organizations and networks, such as the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), become more resilient? 3. How does the EEN help SMEs in becoming more sustainable and resilient in the Covid-19 recovery? The panellists will also explain the important contribution of the European SME Strategy to the recovery, notably the role of the EEN Sustainability Advisors and the upgrade of the EEN services, which will assist SMEs by providing advice on environmental and social sustainability and by facilitating strategic partnerships, including with stakeholders from the Social Economy.

12.30 pm

After the announcement this morning, we invite you to meet directly with the finalists and winners in their own personalised ‘Expo Booth’, where they can answer any questions you might have and provide more information on their project and their journey in the competition. 
The finalists will be live in their virtual Expo Booth will from 12.30pm – 1.15pm. ‘

01.15 pm

Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

01.25 pm

Looking back at the Social Economy Scientific Conference #SES2020
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit – DG GROW, European Commission

Keynote “Envisioning the future of social economy as a catalyst for transformational change in industry and society”
Mario Calderini, Professor of Social Innovation and Director – Tiresa at Politecnico di Milano, School of Management

01.45 pm

Presenting the workshop sessions
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

02.00 pm

Parallel Interactive Workshops (90 minutes)

Gianluca Pastorelli – President, Diesis Network
Karel Vanderpoorten, Policy Officer Social Economy – DG GROW – European Commission
Feliciano Iudicone, Research Officer – Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini
Victor Meseguer, Director – Social Economy Europe
Melinda Kelemen, Senior Expert Labour Market – Diesis Network
Samuel Cohen, Co-founder & CEO – France Barter
John P. Murphy, Chief Executive – Speedpak Group
Jordi Picas I Vilà, Director of Innovation – Suara Cooperative

In the light of COVID, restoring social links and focusing on new digital opportunities is more urgently needed. Digital social economy innovations will be presented according to four socio-technological areas in which people are particularly affected by this transformation: – work and income – goods and services – money and finance – state and governance. Digital platforms, blockchains and other DLTs are the most impactful technologies. Attention will be given to the Digital factor (Digital + Local) as an essential combination for the post COVID recovery. The interactive session is informed by insights from previous workshops and researches (published by CIRIEC) on Blockchain and digital social innovation. The results of and an ongoing research project supported by the European Commission SEEDING – Social Economy Enterprises addressing Digitalisation, Industrial relations, and the European Pillar of Social Rights targeting 7 countries will be presented as well.

Ernst von Kimakowitz, Director & Co-founder – Humanistic Management Center


This workshop will provide an opportunity to reflect on two of the underlying questions of the #roadmap theme of “Which role plays the social economy in building a resilient and sustainable economy?“ those two questions are:

  • Are we in a new normal or is a new normal yet to come? While we currently hear the term of the new normal rather frequently, we rarely reflect on the question of what should constitute a status which we can rightfully call normality. Hence the first part of this workshop will discuss what would qualify for a meaningful concept of a new normal of socio-economic reality.
  • How can we bridge the (sizable) gap between the rhetoric of building back better and the reality of strong desires of impactful actors for restoring the status quo ante? Most efforts we can currently observe are geared towards pragmatic adaptations to the old normal so we may need to step up our efforts if we want to see a meaningful concept of a new normal emerge

Please join this workshop to discuss and share reflections on the requisite actions and supportive narratives that will allow us to seize the opportunity to build a more resilient and more sustainable economy in the recovery process.


03.30 pm

European Network of Social Integration Enterprises Award

The “WISE Manager Award”, organised by the European network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE) aims to celebrate and underline the resilience and the innovativeness of the social enterprises striving for more inclusive and integrated forms of employment in Europe. The received applications express the diversity of the WISEs and their important role for the recovery from the current COVID-19 crisis and for the inclusiveness of our societies.

A jury of experts from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the social economy sector selected the nominees and the winner will be announced during this session! The ceremony will give you the opportunity to discover the WISEs world, their positive social impact on societies and their brilliant practices that can be easily replicated in other countries.

04.00 pm

Conclusion & The End

27.11.2020 / SECOND DAY

09.45 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

09.50 am

Kerstin Jorna, Director-General – DG GROW

10.00 am

Norbert Walter-Borjans, Federal Chairman of the SPD

10.15 am

Olivia Grégoire, State Secretary in charge of Social and Solidarity Economy and responsible economy of the Government of France
Maravillas Espín Sáez, Director General of Self-Employment, Social Economy and CSR – Government of Spain
Valerio Pellirossi, Forum Terzo Settore

Sven Giegold, MEP (Greens/EFA, DE), Co-Chair of the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup
Juan Antonio Pedreño, President – Social Economy Europe
Jérôme Saddier, Vice-President of Social Economy Europe & President of ESS-France

Social economy plays a central role in Europe’s recovery to ‘build back better’, and to create a democratic, sustainable and inclusive economy. The social economy’s active participation will set the Union firmly on the path to a sustainable and resilient recovery, creating jobs and repairing the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic whilst supporting the Union’s in the  ongoing green and digital transitions, while leaving no one behind.

11.30 am

Coffee break

11.45 am

Energizer & Presenting the Main Conference #EUSES May 2021

12.00 pm

Joss Steinke, Director of Youth and Social Welfare Division – German Red Cross
Jan Schröder, Co-Founder of #WirVsVirus project Pflegesterne
Luise Springer, Social Innovation & Digitization – German Red Cross
Katrin Elsemann, Executive Director – Social Enterprise Network Deutschland
Christian Müller, sozial-prn.net

The unprecedented corona crisis demands broad solutions and new approaches facing the numerous social challenges linked with the pandemic and its consequences. In Germany the social economy, though affected by the lockdown and the economic crisis,  has been addressing these challenges in numerous ways and coming from different actors  – traditional welfare institutes as well as social entrepreneurship. This panel will present innovative solutions and collaborative approaches from both sides.

12.45 pm

We are in a time of fundamental changes. While we are all currently working hard on the challenges posed by the corona pandemic, the pressure to act is growing at the same time due to challenges such as climate change, social division or demographic change. In addition to technological innovations, we also need social innovations to meet our challenges and guide Europe through this huge transformation process. The social economy in Europe plays an important role in this. How can this potential be released using the example of Germany? What does it need to enable us to create better cooperation of the social economy within Europe?

Dieter Janecek, Member of the German Parliament for the Green Party
Kai Whittaker, Member of the German Parliament for the Christian Democratic Union
Juliane Kronen, Founder innatura & Board Member of the Alternative Nobel Prize
Verena Hubertz, Founder Kitchen Stories & candidate Social Democrats for the elections of the German Parliament 2021
Markus Sauerhammer, Chairman of the Board at the German Social Entrepreneurship Network (SEND)

01.30 pm

Conclusion and Q&A
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit – DG GROW, European Commission

01.45 pm

The End