General information on the meeting
The SOCRATES hybrid Kick-off meeting took place in Novo mesto, Slovenia, on June 9th and 10th, 2022. Some of the participants joined the kick-off meeting online through Teams conferencing software. The objective of the meeting was to overview the necessary steps toward effective project management and set the foundation for fruitful project implementation. The kick-off meeting was an excellent opportunity to ensure a shared vision and understanding of the project and clarify the project management formalities. The first day of the meeting was carried out in the City Hall of the Municipality of Novo mesto, while the second day was a field visit to the business unit of the social enterprise “Knof”in Novo mesto, organized by the Development center Novo mesto and Municipality of Novo mesto
The kick-off meeting followed the pre-defined agenda:
Day 1: Date: 9.6.2022
09.30 – 10.15 Arrival – Registration
10.15 – 10.30 Welcome speeches of the Mayor of Municipality of Novo mesto (COO) and the Director
of Development center Novo mesto (AE)
10.30 – 10.40 Overall presentation of the project activities
10.40 – 11.40 Presentations of partners and regions (10 min per partner)
11.40 – 12.00 Detailed project overview
➢ Partners’ roles and responsibilities
➢ Deadlines and Milestones
➢ Reporting procedures
➢ Eligibility of Expenditures
➢ Project Modifications
➢ Project Funding & Cash Flows
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch break
13:00 – 14:00 Ethical guidelines and Consortium Agreement
14.00 – 14.30 Conclusion of the meeting
➢ Main Findings of the meeting
➢ Actions for the next 3 months
➢ Discussion of the date of the next meeting
Day 2: Date: 10.6.2022
A visit to a local Social Enterprise, “KNOF” – presentation of their business model and current challenges
Day 1: Date: 9.6.2022
The meeting started with a welcome speech from the Mayor of the Municipality of Novo mesto, Mr. Gregor Macedoni, and the Director of the Development Centre Novo mesto, Mr. Franci Bratkovič. They both emphasized the untapped potential of the Social Economy in the Southeast region of Slovenia, recognizing the need for developing local action plans to create comprehensive support and greater promotion of social entrepreneurship in the region. The SOCRATES project will support the collaboration with transnational partners to develop policies and promote a social economy for an inclusive and responsible society.
The Project Coordinator (PC) Dr. Katerina Božič presented the general and specific objectives of the project and the relevance of the project for the regions included in the consortium. In addition, the PC delivered some vital information from the EISMEA kick-off meeting for the projects supported by the SMP-COSME call.
Presentation of partners
Each consortium partner delivered a short presentation of their activities and roles in the region. Some of them already have started developing policies to support social economy (SE) development, but most of them are in a very infant phase, requiring intensive effort for social innovation, cooperation and networking, sufficient training and coaching, and financial support to advance the SE ecosystems. The presentations confirmed the project’s relevance for the included regions and the complementarity of skills, knowledge, and experience among partners.
Detailed project overview
The PC delivered detailed information on the partners’ roles and responsibilities in each project work package (WP). Dr. Božič clarified the expected content and due dates of the project tasks, deliverables, and milestones. In addition, she presented the key performance indicators for the expected impact and evaluation indicators for stakeholders and media impact. A detailed list of WP’s tasks, deliverables, and milestones was presented and saved in the shared EMDESK project management platform to ensure efficient and effective project implementation. Moreover, the OneDrive folder for concurrent document editing was presented.
The PC provided an additional explanation of the reporting procedures explained and required in the Grant Agreement (GA). Moreover, the templates provided by the EC were presented for the effective financial management of the project. The PC will prepare a detailed Communication and Dissemination Plan by the end of month three (31. 7.2022) to explain internal communication, documents exchange and editing, and information and result dissemination. By month five (30.9.2022), the project will establish a project website and social media outlets. Moreover, printed and electronic project promotion materials will be prepared in local languages to increase the project outreach.
The consortium partners were required to propose a representative for the project’s Steering Committee, which is the main decision-making body of the project, deciding on strategic activities, budget allocations, and potential project adjustments Partners’ roles and responsibilities.
Ethical guidelines and Consortium Agreement
After a short lunch break, the PC presented the general objectives of the Ethical guidelines, namely, the mapping of relevant legal and ethical frameworks affecting data collection, analysis, storing, and dissemination, and preparing guidance to facilitate ethical data use and protection of personal data during and after the project implementation. The HBCG will collaborate closely with the DCNM to prepare the Deliverable 5.1 “Guidelines on legal and ethical issues with templates of informed consent” by the end of month three (31.7.2022).
The PC presented the structure and content of the Consortium Agreement (CA) previously delivered to the consortium partners for review and approval. The PC required the partners to deliver their comments by 17.6.2022 to have enough time for revision, signature, and submission by the defined due date. Moreover,the PC will provide the Deliverable 1.1 (D1.1) “Consortium Agreement and Project Management and Quality Plan” by 17.6.2022 for revision and approval to the partners. The submission of D1.1 is planned by the end of month two (30.6.2022).
Discussion and practical Q&A
The last part of the meeting was devoted to clarifying potential questions and setting a date for the next meeting. It was agreed that the consortium partners meet again through virtual means (Teams conferencing) end of august 2022 (suggested 30.8.2022) to discuss further activities and review the project progress.
Day 2: Date: 10.6.2022
The second day of the kick-off meeting was devoted to a visit of a local Social Enterprise, “KNOF.” KNOF is a pioneer in social entrepreneurship and circular economy in Slovenia with a mission to popularize a sustainable lifestyle. For this purpose, they are developing sustainable services and products that replace plastic or minimize waste, employing vulnerable groups. Their biggest project is Stara šola, a reuse boutique that promotes sustainable fashion that helps to reduce textile waste and create new green jobs. In addition, they work closely with municipalities, waste companies, and other enterprises to find (social) innovations that would decrease waste generation, CO2 emissions, and exploitation of natural resources
The Director of KNOF, Mrs. Mojca Žganec Metelko, presented their business model and the current challenges of social entrepreneurs in Slovenia. She also talked about local development and the potential for creating better opportunities for collaboration, commercialization, and access to finance.
One important consideration was the need to increase the visibility of social entrepreneurship and help regional governments introduce measures to support, promote, and finance social enterprises. Nevertheless, Mrs. Metelko called for regulation of the legal status of SE and the creation of relevant instruments for measuring SE impact. Together with the partners, she discussed the importance of the new EU procurement rules giving procurement opportunities for social enterprises but also highlighted potential misinterpretation of these rules.