Poland: Competition for the Best Social Enterprise of the Year

17.05.2013 Blog

The Foundation for Socio-Economic Initiatives (Fundacja Inicjatyw Społeczno-Ekonomicznych – FISE) is organizing the third edition of the competition for the best social enterprise. 
Increasingly Polish consumers declare their willingness to use the products and services offered by the social economy. To take advantage of emerging opportunities, social enterprises should provide high-quality products, therefore FISE is organizing competition, which will select the best qualified social firms to compete on the open market, while generating a significant social profit. The aim of the competition is to support the most enterprising social economy by:
• Promotion of the products and services of high quality,
• Promotion of competitive marketing solutions,
• Promoting organizational innovation,
• Promotion of skilful business activity for social purposes.

The first edition of the competition was organized in 2011 but the idea to reward individuals and organizations that use of market mechanisms for the achievement of social objectives appeared for a long time. Especially in 2004, shortly after the death of Jacek Kuron (famous Polish dissident and socially engaged politician) a group of people associated with him intended to celebrate him by organising such competition. It was the initiative of Jacek Kuron in 1990 to start the Foundation of Social and Economic. Therefore it is fully understand that an important objective of FISE, in addition to actions related to the promotion and strengthening of social enterprises in Poland, is to preserve the memory of the thoughts and actions of Jacek Kuroń. Strengthening and empowerment of individuals and organizations in day to day activities is one of the basic ideas underlying the Best Social Enterprise of the Year competition.
Cooperation and willingness to fund a financial rewards has been declared by French bank Crédit Coopératif, which is related to Karol Sachs - Jacek Kuron adviser at a time when he served as Minister of Labour, and now a member of the Competition Council. Crédit Coopératif Foundation for over 30 years gives awards for the best social economy in France. Therefore, the experience is extremely valuable support for the organizer of the competition in Poland.
In the competition for the Best Social Enterprise Award expert supports for winner social enterprise is provided by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) - one of the largest professional services firms in the world.
In the third edition financial rewards (founded by Crédit Coopératif) are equal to 65 000 Polish zloty (around 15 000 Euro). In the category "Social Enterprise of the Year" award  is equal  to 50 000 zł and in the category of "The idea for the development" ("Pomysł na Rozwój") the winners prize is equal to 15 000 zł.
Contest finalists have also the unique chance to PwC Employee Awards, namely business consulting tailored to the current situation and the needs of winning social entrepreneurs. After the announcement of the list of finalists FISE staff will contact the finalists to complete a short questionnaire. Completed questionnaires will be analysed by PwC experts who choose from the submitted applications social enterprises that demonstrate the greatest incentive to reward and clearly indicate the area that requires the support of a business consultant. Individual work with advisers of  PwC Poland will last about six months, during which will be held on five three-hour counselling session. The aim of counselling is to improve and streamline the functioning of the social enterprise.
There is also envisioned “Audience Award” granted by internet voting. Every year after the announcement of the list of finalists for Best Social Enterprise, a month before the end of the ceremony contest internet voting is initiated on the website. The winner is the finalist who obtains the most surfers’ votes. "Audience Award" is no financial reward. It shows, however, that social enterprise is able to activate their environment and encourage them to vote in a poll of the greatest number of people. Victory in an online vote for "Audience Award" is an opportunity to promote social enterprise in the whole country. The winner will receive a statuette by  Roberta Pludry from the Association of Industrial Designers, carried out by the social cooperative "Glass World" with Krosnice ( Spółdzielnia Socjalna "Szklany Świat").
In the 2012 edition of the Competition, the Social Enterprise of the Year 2012 was Social Cooperative "Patron" of Jelenia Gora. The idea for the Development of Category winner was Social Cooperative “Rybka ("Fish") in Katowice, and the Audience Award went to Social Cooperative  “Inicjatywa” ("Initiative") of Bystrzejowic Trzecich.