Finding synergies between social entrepreneurship and public transport in Thessaloniki

On 20 October 2017, CIPTEC held a workshop on social entrepreneurship in Thessaloniki, entitled “Social Innovation/Entrepreneurship and Public Transport in Cities: Identifying barriers and opportunities”.

Professor Aristotelis Naniopoulos, the CIPTEC project coordinator, opened proceedings by talking about previous CIPTEC activities and those that would take place prior to the project's conclusion.

Another presentation then introduced participants to selected examples of mobility-related good practices in the field of social entrepreneurship/innovation, as well as the basic terms and concepts behind the two terms.

The workshop's 22 participants came from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, ranging from urban mobility and transport to social entrepreneurship and business management. Before activities started, they were divided into three groups.

The first session saw participants investigating how public transport needs in Greece could be addressed by developing innovative social measures and encouraging the creation of social enterprises.

They were able to establish multiple potential synergies between social entrepreneurs and public transport. The main ways in which it was decided social entrepreneurs could be of assistance were:

  • improving the mobility of vulnerable social groups, for instance through public transport buddies and the organisation of “last mile” transport;
  • enhancing transport information provision to these vulnerable groups ;
  • ensuring mobility for all, namely overcoming the ‘transport poverty';
  • helping with environmental protection.

In the next session, participants determined the most significant barriers to the development of the social innovations and social enterprises that would address the needs outlined in the previous session.

In addition, they were asked to formulate policy suggestions that would facilitate the involvement of social entrepreneurs in Greece's public transport sector.

The workshop’s findings were then presented in a plenary discussion, with participants evaluating policies based upon the feasibility of their implementation.

The session provided particularly useful in discerning the current legislation issues hindering social entrepreneurs from offering public transport-related services.

To find out more about CIPTEC, visit its project page here.

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