REVES - goodworks Conference from April 13 to 16 in Tulln

Under the heading „Regions and alternative markets for a social, sustainable and citizen-centered Europe”, the goodworks Innovation Agency, based in Lower Austria, with the support of the NOeGUS (Lower Austrian health care and social fund), the Working Community of the Danube Regions and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) at the Tulln University and Research Center organized the Annual Conference of the REVES network*), which is active on a European scale.

Approx. 100 male and female experts from 20 European countries discussed about topics, such as good practice and new strategies for inclusive jobs, social public procurement, freely accessible health care, as well as sustainable regional economic activity.

The Conference was opened by Deputy Governor of Lower Austria Wolfgang Sobotka and the First Vice President of the EU Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz.

Sobotka welcomed the good cooperation, and argued for a further intensification: “Lower Austria will participate in this network actively and increasingly. The socio-economic approaches, developed together with goodworks, e.g. in case of the “handicap tailor’s” or in the field of throw-away medical products shall be expanded and implemented through international participation!”

The social economy is a significant factor of the society and economy in Europe. 14 % of the economic performance and approx. 10 mio. of workers are connected therewith. Social entrepreneurship, i.e. economic activity with the inclusion of disadvantaged persons, is booming all over Europe. This is shown by many contributions towards contents of this event, and also twenty “market stands” in the auditorium of the BOKU, where the organizations participating introduced themselves.

Furthermore, workshops took place on topics such as “the growing sector of health care, sharing economy, high-quality jobs & inclusion into the job market”. Also the current European favorite topic of migration was clearly addressed in the contributions. As a conclusion of the four-day programme, the international guests, many of whom were in Austria for the first time, visited not only the Emmaus Society in St. Poelten as well as the Caritas hostel for asylum seekers at the Stift Melk (monastery), but also the Melk monastery itself and the World Cultural Heritage of the Wachau Valley.

goodworks as the up to now only Austrian member of REVES elaborated, together with the NOeGUS, amongst others, various models on sustainability in the field of health care. Such, for instance, the handicap tailor’s, where custom-made clothes are tailored for persons with special clothing needs (e.g. wheelchair users). A significant contribution towards sustainability in the field of health care is provided by the international project of 2nd life medical technology. The base of this project is an analysis of potentials for reprocessing throw-away medical products. This sector comprises a volume of some hundreds of millions of Euros in Austria only. “The international goodworks team from Austria, Hungary, Romania and Croatia realizes huge potential savings of resources and a potential increase of jobs and value-creation for the regions”, according to goodworks Managing Director Franz Rybaczek. “We are able to contribute a lot to the community, but also to learn a lot from other regions”, stated the remaining two goodworks Managing Directors, Bernhard Kuderer and Szabolcs Hollósi. They presented the online marketplace and the goodworks label for products and services within the framework of this Conference. Many members of REVES expressed their interest in cooperation.

Co-President of REVES, Jan Olsson expressed his thanks to the goodworks team for their hospitality and the perfect overall organization of this event: “It was an interesting and successful event. We are looking forward to new activities and also to new members from Austria and the Danube countries!”

*) REVES (French, “dreams“) is the European Network of Cities and Regions for the Social Economy. Regions as well as towns are members, as well as major socio-economic institutions (co-operative societies, co-operatives etc.). REVES is extremely widespread in France, Italy, Spain and in Scandinavian countries. REVES is distinguished by the connection between local authorities / public institutions and socio-economic institutions, and by the trend-setting strategies resulting, practically implemented projects as well as common projects.

Further information and materials (programme, presentations etc.).

Fotos © Nadja Meister, goodworks