Social Finance
for Social Greening

Italian United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom

SOFIGREEN – Social Finance for Social Greening is a European project, co-financed by the EU Commission under the SMP-COSME-2022-SEE Call (G.A. 101127346), regarding the greening social economy SMEs and entrepreneurs in the proximity and social economy ecosystem through transnational co-operation and a better and more aware access to financing instruments.


The general objective of the project is to support the greening of processes and activities of SSEEs by enhancing their investment readiness, their access to finance and their multi-stakeholder (mainstream SMEs, research, public authorities, etc.) and multi-level (local, regional, cross-border) collaborations:  specific challenges faced by SMEs in the social economy.

In doing so, the project aims at empowering social economy SMEs and entrepreneurs to deliver on the objectives set by the EU Green Deal by fostering their capacities and skills, improving their sustainable management and greening their operations.

In this way, the project intends to turn those critical circumstance into the springboard that will enable them to seize the opportunity of the transition by structurally reshaping their business model and raising the finance necessary to make the leap that will put them at the forefront in social, environmental and economic sustainability. Moreover, SSEEs will become part of wider territorial ecosystems, hubs of collaboration between large and small firms, research organisations and the public sector, which will play a central role in catalysing the transition towards new, more sustainable value chains and communities.


At EU level, as underlined by the EU CoR, the European Green Deal will only be achieved by empowering local and regional authorities together with all local stakeholders to engage in a fair and green transition. In this perspective, the GECES report on Clusters of Social and Ecological Innovation (CSEI) stress the role of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) clusters and intermediaries such as territorial SSE-BSO as important transformative agents of change towards a green and fair economy advancing knowledge exchange, mutual learning, innovation and large citizen mobilization.

Social and Solidarity Economy has been a real pioneer in different economic sectors of the ecological transition within territories. With an increased recognition of the SSE at EU level since 2011 (Social Business Initiative) leading to the European Action Plan for SSE (2022) the European institutions are paying increased attention to the SSE as a driver of sustainable development engaging in an inclusive and fair green economy.

Thus, the Commission tends to explore scenarios for a “transition pathway” to accelerate the green transition of the social economy, as part of the Proximity and Social economy industrial ecosystem, involving engagement with all interested subjects.


The SOFIGREEN partnership has gathered Clusters of Social and Ecological Innovation, Social Finance intermediaries, BSOs and philanthropic Foundations from three advanced Social Economy areas (Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes in France, Southern Italy regions and Andalucia in Spain), together with EU Social Economy support networks.

It’s a partnership that brings together complementary organisations to provide the expertise needed to achieve all project objectives.

The design and delivery of the capacity building package combining access to finance and ecosystemic approach is ensured by the combined expertise of all partner organizations, each for its specific field. The correct management of the financial support to beneficiaries is ensured by partners who have already managed such kinds of incentives, mainly Fondazione con il Sud in Southern Italy and MedWawes in the whole Mediterranean basin. Finally, the mainstreaming of the approach and instruments developed during the project is ensured at national level by the local partners and at EU level by EU networks FEBEA and REVES. MedWaves will mainstream them in the Mediterrean basin.

●  Recognized clusters of social and environmental innovation:

MeSSInA Foundation (IT) – Leader partner, non-profit Foundation which leads a wide social economy cluster based in Messina;

ARCHER GROUP (FR) – Social enterprise that currently employs 1,200 people and operates in 20 areas of activities. Its primary objective is to create jobs and to promote the economic, social and ecological development of the region;

●  BSOs’ networks for social economy:

MedWaves (ES)the UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production;

FAECTA (ES) – Andalusian Federation of Worker Cooperatives;

●  Social finance intermediares:

BANCA POPOLARE ETICA (IT) – cooperative ethical bank that operates in Italy and Spain;

La Nef (FR) – Cooperative ethical bank established in France;

●  Philanthropic organizations:

Fondazione con il Sud (IT) – The first grant making organization to invest in the development of Southern Italy entirely through private;

●  EU networks:

FEBEA (BE)European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks and Financiers;

REVES  (BE) – European Network of Cities and Regions for the Social Economy.


The SOFIGREEN action plan entails first the co-design of a capacity building package for SSEEs addressing:

●  identification and evaluation of skills, infrastructure and related investment needs required to meet climate targets in the long term;

●  economic-financial planning required to carry out such investments; access to finance opportunities;

●  multi-stakeholder and multi-level cooperation practices.

Then, two capacity building courses (one for start-ups, one for growth enterprises) will be delivered in the target areas (Italy, France and Spain) selecting a minimum of 90 SSEEs. At least 60 of them will then receive further financial support and coaching to boost their investment readiness and ecosystemic approach, finally accessing necessary finance for their green transition.

To further ensure the achievement of such goal, the consortium will discuss and co-design financial instruments adapted to target SMEs, and will launch a European Venture Philanthropy Fund, interconnected with a network of local funds and financial intermediaries, to invest patient capital in SSEEs.

Cross-border cooperation will be built through six transnational peer-learning and capacity-building sessions, involving target SMEs, partners and relevant stakeholders. Partners’ networks cover more than 60 EU territories and the MENA region, allowing for a wide dissemination and successful replicability.

  • Duration: 01.10.2023 – 30.09.2025 (24 months)
  • Total Budget: 1.051.307,78 (co-funded)


Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EISMEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

News and Updates

Italian United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom
22 Marzo 2024

The selection will start in May

At least 90 social and solidarity economy enterprises will benefit from the Capacity Building training package specifically outlined by SOFIGREEN partnership to support the strengthening of their environmental performance. Later, at least 60 out of 90 will receive further financial support through ...

20 Febbraio 2024

Participation and holistic approach. Medwaves leds the co-design of Capacity-Building training

The Capacity-Building initiative led by Medwaves is characterized by a comprehensive approach to promote the growth and sustainability of small enterprises in the social economy, whether start-up or at growthstage, and consists of a few fundamental steps designed specifically to empower them. ...

23 Gennaio 2024

The partnership, a transnational network of excellences

The SOFIGREEN partnership brings together social innovation clusters, civil society organizations and philanthropic foundations from three advanced social economy areas (Auverghe-Rhone-Alpes in France, southern Italy regions and Andalusia in Spain) together with EU social economy support networks. These are organizations characterized by ...

5 Gennaio 2024

SOFIGREEN supports the greening of processes and activities of social and solidarity economy enterprises (SSEE)

SOFIGREEN (Social Finance for Social Greening) is a project co-financed by the EU Commission under the SMP-COSME-2022-SSE (G.A. 101127346) focusing on supporting the ecological transition of social economy SMEs and entrepreneurs in the proximity and social economy ecosystem. It does so through ...