Autopromozione Sociale, Municipality of Rome, Italy
"Autopromozione Sociale is an inspiring project set up by the Municipality of Rome (Italy) to promote alternative economic activities. It has created a permanent space in the suburbs of Rome where 750 companies work in social and environmental areas such as fair trade, biodynamic agriculture, ethical finance, recycling, energy savings, responsible tourism and free software.
The challenge of modern business innovation is to ensure that local development occurs in harmony with the social and physical environment. Since its establishment in 2004 by the Municipality of Rome, Autopromozione Sociale (Social Self-Promotion) has provided support to more than 750 start-up companies, where priority is given to the key principles of sustainable development.
Whilst this support has led to the creation of more than 3,500 jobs, the project’s starting point has typically been a coordinated group of enterprises and resourceful individuals with good ideas about how to improve the quality of life in the city’s suburbs. It is based on the principle that economic growth flows from a positive ‘cultural atmosphere’ and a set of new enterprises interacting with the complexities of sustainable development, rather than isolated individual initiatives.
Via the direct participation of all stakeholders through public calls for proposals, the project has led to a range of general business activities, targeted initiatives towards crafts, bookshops, the immigrant population and ‘green’ projects. It has also guaranteed funds for loans and established a number of entrepreneurial service centres and support facilities for local businesses."