The European Forum on Social Economy(EFSE) Bulgaria is a message to the entire European Union that we should actively support the cooperatives, social and specialized enterprises of persons with disabilities by implementing special programs to support this kind of firms.
Social enterprises and cooperatives of persons with disabilities are very widely used in modern society, in applying business methods to solve social problems.
The EFSE Bulgaria is an innovative model for strengthening specialized employment and workforce development. It is a kind of mechanism for social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
It provides opportunities for sustainable employment of persons with disabilities in the country by popularising their work and establishing new contacts and business partnerships.
Upon an area of over 1,000 m2 of exhibiting space at the most famous Expo centre of Bulgaria – the International Fair of Plovdiv, products were exposed, made by persons with disabilities. The r of their work displayed at the exhibition, become available to a wide range of participants and visitors – governmental and public organizations, business firms and consumers in the country and abroad.
We should note that such large-scale events are not within the power of individual specialized enterprises of persons with disabilities. The enterprises participating in the exhibition are not just looking for playing field, but they also purposefully seek public recognition for the various products manufactured by persons with disabilities and the services. The national associations and specialized funds and agencies at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy are rendering essential support to them.
Within the framework of the Project, an international conference and a national round table discussing current topics in the field of social economy are organized. They attract representatives of various European institutions, governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
Growing up of the national exhibitions into European fair for social enterprises and cooperatives of persons with disabilities will intensify the governmental attention in many countries towards supporting sustainable development of social enterprises and cooperatives of persons with disabilities. Popularisation, beyond national borders, of the potential of such enterprises, adopting and implementing measures to create favourable conditions for developing and strengthening the international cooperation will increasingly contribute to a successful integration of disabled persons into public life.
Practically, we are implementing the main tasks related to an accelerated integration of persons with disabilities into economic and social life of the country and their social inclusion; we make changes in the form and manner of communication, in enhancing public awareness of the problems and opportunities of persons with disabilities and implement programs aimed at solving such problems.
The EFSE Bulgaria supported the development of social enterprises and the improvement of social economy in Bulgaria and demonstrated the best examples of inclusion of persons with disabilities into the labor market. This forum contributed to changing the attitude towards persons with disabilities and strengthening the social capital in the country.
The benefit of EFSE Bulgaria consists in enhancing the social inclusion and personal fulfilment of a significant group of persons with disabilities, improving their quality of life, increasing the social credit and financial results of the firms employing persons with disabilities.
Of primary importance is the inclusion of partners (public and private) into the process of development and realization of such a forum like the European fair of specialized enterprises and cooperatives of persons with disabilities. The assessment and recognition are currently high and this provides an incentive to the organizers to do everything possible to continue this activity, because the motivation of institutions, organizations and businesses concerning persons with disabilities is very high.