Social enterprise is a fairly recent phenomenon in Calabria: 65% of the non profit organisation were constituted after the 90s. But since then relations, partnership and planning have been consolidating , with new example of experiences and relations network.In general in all southern Italy, social enterprise seems to have a considerable potential for the overall development of local economies. Social enterprises present an important opportunity of employment in southern Italy where third sector give employment to 600 people, equal to 18 % of the total number employed throughout Italy (this is mainly, as in the rest of Italy,voluntary work). Calabria absorbs 10,6 % of all those employed in social enterprises in the south of Italy.
In a region like Calabria which is in actual fact lags far behind competitors in countries, social enterprise is not only social helps. The contribution which this type of enterprise can give it’s fundamental for the growth and development of the region, bringing out local resources and enhancing entrepreneurial ones. With the innovative character of the entrepreneurial model that is embodied, it offers sustainability to economic development “”tout court””.
However, there are still several issues that prevent the Calabrian social economy from taking off.
The main problems concern the management of human resources, management , patrimony and credit. Calabrian social enterprises depend heavily on public financing which inevitably causes serious impediments when guaranteeing fees for professional people and collaborators as payments by public bodies are not made on a regular or continuous basis. Calabrian social enterprises therefore cannot maintain long-term relations with qualified personnel and a high turnover of workers is inevitable. The organisational model is fragile and unstable: the capacity of non-profit enterprises to select workers with strong intrinsic motivation seems to be weakening and there as been a gradual loss of interest by the member workers. Thus, there is a need for training in order to acquire a conscious and strategic functional articulation of tasks and roles to prevent the growth potential from being wasted. Social enterprises have become aware of the necessity to improve their system of capitalization and investment in research and motivation, so that they do not face a future where survival strategies end up substituting those of entrepreneurial development.
Social enterprise in our region has difficulty in establishing relations of collaboration within the tertiary sector, with public administration and other profit enterprises in the sector and also in identifying new forms of conducting integrated projects trough the creation of networks. Especially small social enterprises, which make up the majority of the Calabrian entrepreneurial universe, cannot activate relational processes. The implementation of social “”local systems”” would instead create additional economies and produce social cohesion, which are indispensable factors for the economic development of the region.
Implementing network culture is , in fact, the road to follo: social enterprise could become a real boost for development and allow Calabria to overcome the great gap which separates it from the other regions of Italy.