Helena Gata director at TESE, a Non Governmental Development Organization (NGO) that uses the concept of social innovation as an anchor of its operations in Portugal and in developing countries.
Which were the main reasons that made you apply this project to the European Commission call “Supporting the demand and supply side of the market for social enterprise finance”?
Portugal is still in an embryonic phase regarding Social Investment and in the creation of Social Business.
Traditionally, there is a strong dependency of the social sector from public funds, reducing the interest and the capacity of the sector in attracting private funds and demand for other types of investment. Given the context of the current economic and social crisis, in which the state is de-capitalised, the social economy sector starts feeling the need to identify other sources of investment in order to ensure their financial sustainability and social impact of their actions.
This project arises precisely in order to be a dynamo of paradigm shift in relation to the financing of the social sector.
What are your expectations regarding the project results?
The expectations regarding the proposed results are high, because we want to establish a partnership between investors and organizations that are developing social business in Portugal. The first challenge is the creation of the necessary conditions for this partnership to occur.
There is a gap between these two worlds – the world of investors/companies and the world of social organizations – that is necessary to bring closer. This distance starts with the most basic barriers like language, to the more complex issues such as absence of a perception of complementarity between the two sectors. There is therefore an important and difficult technical and strategic work to be done to assure the project’s success, but that will only come to fruition if there is willingness on the part of the main players of the three sectors.