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Logo Gsef Montréal 2016 - The Global Social Economy Forum

The third meeting of the Global Social Economy Forum – GSEF2016 – ­that took place from September 7 to September 9, brought together more than 1,500 participants from about 60 countries. In total, some 200 social and solidarity economy (SSE) initiatives from Québec and elsewhere were presented in and around the GSEF2016. Montréal is the first North American host city of the forum since the founding of the GSEF in 2013.

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Trends

Integrated approaches

Collective entrepreneurship

Sharing economy

New technologies

Integrated approaches

Integrated approaches

Integrated approaches, which combine social and economic dimensions, emphasize people and involve strategies to reinforce living environments, education and mobilization. These approaches help to develop new business models in different social economy sectors.

Collective entrepreneurship

Collective entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship can be defined as the act of creating wealth or jobs by creating or taking over a company. Collective entrepreneurship brings together businesses that are organized around a legal form that allows collective ownership such as non-profit organizations or cooperatives.

Within Montréal’s economy, collective structures are increasingly relevant. They represent a development path for strategic sectors and are part of economic development that takes the evolution of social needs and business opportunities into account.

Sharing economy

Sharing economy
Photo Credit : Ville de Montréal

Sharing economy is based on the values of social economy and has its own forms of organization: cooperatives, non-profit organizations and other hybrid models. Sharing economy is often based on mutual services, sharing infrastructures and technological or physical assets (human and material) working in networks, etc.

New technologies

New technologies
Photo : Simon Mercier-Nguyen, Société des arts technologiques

New technologies include a variety of fields. Although new technologies are a frontrunner in all sectors of economic activity, it is a sector in and of itself which is essentially composed of information and communication technologies and innovations related to digital technologies. In Montréal’s social economy, it is an important sector in which, little by little, collective companies are innovating and making a place for themselves.

Sectors of activity

Agribusiness

Housing and real estate

Culture

Design, heritage and urban activities

Environment

Social insertion

Social tourism and recreation

Agribusiness

Agribusiness

Urban agriculture

A number of Montréal organizations, including the city, are taking their inspiration from this movement. Urban agriculture, which offers farm products and services for local consumption, can take different forms: community, commercial, private, etc.

Most urban agriculture initiatives are collectives.

Food safety

These initiatives, mainly community-based, aim to fulfill basic food needs. Organizations may run food banks, soup kitchens, community kitchens or offer meals for schools in low-income areas.

Nearby businesses

In areas that are considered food deserts, a number of initiatives are being developed, such as local markets or distribution co-ops, to meet residents’ needs.

Restaurants

Many Montréal businesses whose mission involves social insertion are active in this sector. They are also increasingly supported by responsible purchasing policies.

Housing and real estate

Housing and real estate

Community housing

Community housing provides a permanent solution to housing problems for those less fortunate, in addition to helping revitalize neighbourhoods and generating savings in terms of health and social services. It also helps to protect heritage and develop major urban sites.

Community real estate

Community real estate projects are often linked to territorial revitalization initiatives. A number of community, sports and recreation centres, early childhood centres and cultural organizations own buildings for their own activities. Some projects which bring together several organizations can benefit from mutual services.

Culture

Culture
Photo : Amel Zaazaa, Théâtre Aux Écuries

Access to creative spaces

The link between the arts and culture sector and social economy is very strong and the importance of arts initiatives in territorial development is a major contributor. These collective businesses operate outside of a profit maximization mindset.

Creating cultural spaces not only meets the needs of artists – with support from local development organizations, it can make these spaces driving forces of neighbourhood revitalization.

Design, heritage and urban activities

Design, heritage and urban activities
Photo Credit : Valérie Paquette

Collective businesses in this sector are relatively new. They aim to enhance or promote neighbourhoods through temporary or permanent projects that may be connected to activities or events.

Environment

Environment
Photo Credit : Ville de Montréal

Environmental stakeholders

Environmental stakeholders were the first to create social economy businesses in the field of recycling, recovery and re-use. These businesses usually combine two missions: environment and social reinsertion.

Circular economy

Circular economy is an economic concept that is part of sustainable development and whose objective is to produce goods and services while limiting consumption and waste of raw materials. Greenhouse gas consumption, overpackaging, and other environmental issues are considered in order to reduce our carbon footprint.

Social insertion

Social insertion
Photo : Emilia Plesa, Petites-Mains

Social economy stakeholders believe that the responsibility for integrating marginalized people into the job market should be shared among businesses, whether they are private or collective. A number of businesses were created especially for social reinsertion of people with handicaps or who are experiencing exclusion from the job market. These companies can be found in a number of sectors.

Social tourism and recreation

Social tourism and recreation
Photo Credit : Ville de Montréal

Social tourism aims to facilitate access to tourism and recreation for the largest possible number of people, including youth, families, seniors, people with reduced mobility, etc. Montréal has a long history of social tourism supported by a strong network of volunteers and developed through social economy organizations: youth hostels or the city’s family camps are some of the best known initiatives.