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The UIA Secretariat organised a series of interviews with the projects selected under the topic "jobs & skills in the local economy". What is the most innovative elements of their project to promote jobs and skills? What are the main changes they are expecting? What are the main challenges they are confronted with? Hear the feedbacks from MARES de Madrid project and find out what was the motivation behind the project, how it fits within the city’s wider economic and employment strategy and other interesting elements.

Interview with Mr. Bernardino Sanz, General Director for Economy in the Municipality of Madrid

Why did your city decide to apply under Urban Innovative Actions?
Among the new objectives of economic development of Madrid City Council, the promotion of the Social and Solidarity Economy is an essential pillar, and numerous initiatives and instruments, totally new for the city of Madrid, are being articulated.
 
Some of these measures put in place had shown certain effectiveness, in a greater or lesser degree, in other territories. However, the miscellany of actions implemented in the Mares project is something completely new as a whole, so the risk of its success made it difficult, if not impossible, to implement it without the support of an initiative such as the UIA, that has in its essence the assumption of these kind of risks.

What do you consider to be the most innovative element of your project?
Undoubtedly, the active participation of citizens in the design, development and implementation of the different project’s activities to be carried out.  This participation would be inherent to the development of the Social and Solidarity Economy itself. As these kind of actions of Social and Solidarity Economy are not usually in the collective imagination, citizen participation from the beginning is essential.

In addition, the recovery of deteriorated urban spaces, its location in some disadvantaged districts and the participation of all involved agents, contribute to endowing it with a greater specificity.

What are the main changes that you expect to achieve in your municipality with this project?
The main change would be that the social economy will be visible to the whole citizenship and would constitute a benchmark for sustainable development in addition to those more traditional corporate forms.

After over a year of implementation, can you tell us where you are with the project and what are the main challenges you expect to be confronted to?
During this first year, we have made an important effort in the mapping of already existing social initiatives, as well as in catalyzing proposals towards the objectives defined in the project.

More than 200 collective business initiatives keep working in the MARES environment, so far.

Our main challenge is to achieve a quick adaptation of the urban spaces and establishing new ways of meeting with new business projects to be developed.