Cáceres para Comerselo
Cáceres para Comérselo is a micro-enterprise of less than 10 employees acting as a cooperative with 6 – 10 years of experience in sectors such as: agriculture, forestry and fishing, agri-food and tourism, gastronomy, food retail and culinary arts, entertainment and creation. In this way, the company offers a wide range of services to its clients on a regional level (i.e., in Extremadura), among which the following can be mentioned:
- Catering services
- Food products
- Food services
- Culinary products
- Culinary services
- Leisure services
The ACTYVA Cooperative Society is an initiative that arises to facilitate the generation of productive, alternative and solidarity economy projects, and the connections between them and with their immediate environment to reactivate relations and exchanges on a local scale from Extremadura. Cáceres para Comérselo is a food supply project of the Extremaduran cooperative ACTYVA. The products come directly from those who produce or process them and from areas as close as possible to Cáceres, with exceptions such as whole cane sugar. We are producers who, after several years dedicated to producing, managing, marketing and distributing our small productions directly to the consumer, have decided to group our catalogues into a single one and to be more efficient in the performance of the other tasks while maintaining the same philosophy.
The company claims to carry out co-design and co-creation and/or sale of products and services with other entities on a regular basis, including other social enterprises or organisations, public authorities at local/regional level, farmers and food producers, companies or organisations in the hospitality sector, NGOs, educational organisations and/or philanthropists. The professional connections and interactions established with the above-mentioned entities are made possible through the participation of ACTYVA members in forums, official meetings with other partners, networking events or through their attendance to workshops specifically designed to collaborate and innovate.
From “Cáceres para Comérselo” they point out that one of the main challenges they have faced is that the dedication of the staff associated with the different ACTYVA projects is not 100% available, which makes it difficult for them to articulate more cooperation mechanisms with related stakeholders. However, they consider as the most relevant factors for the success of their business the existence of available resources in their area of action, the mobilisation and constant involvement of the right stakeholders (community members, external partners, etc.). Similarly, their ability to focus on a particular customer segment for whom they design innovative products/services and attract additional financial resources have also been determining factors.
The advantage of collectively undertaking an entrepreneurial process has been an important driver for this initiative. In this sense, its founder claims to have acquired his knowledge in business and business leadership, co-creation and co-sharing processes, among others, thanks to the exchange of information and experiences with colleagues/friends (coaching, etc.). It points out that it would be necessary to train new business people and entrepreneurs, social or otherwise, in areas such as the internal management of collaborative projects that take into account the entire value chain, comprehensive projects. Therefore, they agree with the fact that the support community is fundamental for the sustainability of social enterprises, as they cannot thrive acting independently and in isolation from their community.
Good leadership is a key factor in the success of a social enterprise. Promoting social change and values, establishing goals, motivate people to work towards the goal is all vital capacities of a leader. In social enterprises leadership also relies on ethics, integrity and expertise, but also on empathy and passion. Empathy and passion about the organisation’s mission are the qualities, which may probably most distinguish the leader of a social enterprise from other corporate or political leaders.
The SAGA case studies can perfectly illustrate why leadership is important in social enterprises. The story of the Szász family rural tourism business from Transylvania (Romania) is one of the most vivid examples for good leadership skills. Back in 2002 they bought a land with a traditional house and a barn on it. Since then the family has been collecting several old traditional houses from the Ghimes valley where they are located and rebuilt them in their original form thus creating a whole Skanzen. Their built heritage preserving mission helped them to build good relations with locals, which definitely set the tone for further long term collaboration.
The Skanzen offers accommodation, catering and various programs for their visitors. Thus, they can have the opportunity to experience the past through gastronomy in a traditional environment. The business of the Szász family is mainly based on supporting the local economy through the employment of local people, use of local resources and suppliers. Moreover, they systemically involve the local community and visiting guests in these programmes, events they offer for future collaboration and networking. This enterprise actually helps local people reach higher standards of living, better quality life, the family continuously assures new employment perspective.
What makes the members of the Szász family good leaders? A few highlights of their role model set: their mission and vision that of preserving local cultural and traditional values while continuously assuring livelihood opportunities for the local community members, system of values and approach to life (sustainable lifestyle family tourism business), good cooperation skills, loyalty towards the community, resilience/perseverance, and creativity what triggered their dream and last but not at least their courage, which fuelled their motivation. These are all character traits of a good leader, which can be learned through practice.
Any entrepreneur, regardless of which country they come from, none of them could have started or succeed in their business without self-confidence. The same is true in the case of social enterprises, and in the case studies from the SAGA project, it’s hard to choose one, which best illustrates the importance of self-confidence.
The case of the Zsigmond Malom Panzió differs from the other cases which were collected in Romania, both of the owners had university diploma which could have provided comfortable living for them. The husband is a physical education teacher, the wife is a pharmacist and both professions are quite well paid in the country. The owner tried himself in the tour guiding role even before it became popular as an occupation or the region was attractive from touristic point of view. His first experiences might have given him the necessary boost to continue on this road and become an entrepreneur, more precisely a social entrepreneur. The early success had a positive effect on the owner’s self-confidence, and not only gave him the satisfaction of showing around the region he was in love with, but the feedback received from his clients/guest also reassured him that this is something he should be considering on the long run. After starting their enterprise the owners had to face the fact, that the number of returning guests increased, some of them returned regularly, this „phenomenon” can also serve as a source of self-confidence. Since the start they always managed to keep their head above water. The narrow market and the constantly changing conditions improved their adaptation ability and helped them to build a healthy self-confidence too, since so far they managed to cope with all the difficulties.
The importance of self-confidence is embedded in the origin story of the Zsigmond Malom Panzió, if the owner wouldn’t be as adroit as he is, he might have never gain enough self-confidence to start such an enterprise. We should also mention the support of his wife and the whole family who are active contributors to the success of this business. Both of the owners have found a new passion for themselves, in which they developed and perfected themselves. Based on their story, continuous learning might be a key element to build healthy self-confidence.
The following case study was found on: https://artemis.im/theory-of-change-example-in-health/. The NGO used Theory of Change (ToC) to reach a basic level of fitness for the elderly in West Java. The website describes their process as follows.
‘An NGO based in West Java aims to launch a project to help the elderly adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle. The project will be carried out for 6 months involving regular counselling sessions and workshops. The NGO also plans to tie up with one of the premier healthcare centres in the region for assistance.’
‘Here, the long-term goal that will be achieved by the NGO is ‘helping elderly residents get more active. Once the goal is identified, the next step will be to list out the conditions required to reach this goal and begin the process of ‘backward mapping‘, identifying interventions and developing indicators.’
‘Remember, the NGO will need to identify the resources and inputs required for the project to achieve its desired goal and list out the preconditions needed. To ensure that its impact project achieves the goal of helping the elderly get more fit and active, the NGO arrived at a basic precondition. Participants must already be engaged in light physical activities, such as brisk walking, yoga, et cetera. Inactive participants must obtain medical permission to engage in the programme .’
Please take a look at their interpretation of the ToC model shown below when you have finished the lesson about ToC.