Co-ops were among the big winners at the first edition of the European Social Economy Awards on 12 October.
The ceremony, held at the Digital Centre of Slovenia in Ljubljana alongside a livestream, saw Som Energia, a Spanish renewable energy co-op, win the Green transition category while Needs Map, a platform co-op from Turkey, took home the prize for social innovations.
Som Energia is owned by almost 60,000 members. Through the co-op they invest in renewable energy generation installations, and use the power they generate.
NEEDS Map is a map-based data-matching platform that connects donors, volunteers, and people in need.
SSE received a total of 118 applications from 28 different countries, including 19 co-operatives. Nine finalists, three for each category, were announced before the ceremony.
Three other co-ops were among the finalists: Suara, a social co-operative from Spain; Staramaki, a social co-operative from Greece that produces eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic straws; and Consum, a Spanish eco-efficient co-op retailer.
The European Social Economy Awards aim to increase awareness about the social economy. They are organised by Social Economy Europe and will be hosted every two years.
SEE President Juan Antonio Pedreño said: “We are the result of history, we continue the path that others opened before us. Social Economy Europe is sensitive to this, to the legacy of all the people that have built this organisation and have worked on this collective project. This is what we are honouring today with these special EU Social Economy Awards.”