As part of the Marshall Plan, the Walloon Region has launched Brasero, a financial instrument that will eventually command a budget of 2.5 million euros, to provide financial support (via Sowecsom) between 70 and 100 cooperatives per year, announced the Walloon Minister for the Economy, Jean-Claude Marcourt, on Thursday. These cooperatives, businesses that operate within the social economy, “mobilise savings and generate communities that have a real impact on the local economy”, said Mr. Marcourt. The Walloon region has instructed Sowescom (la Société Wallonne d’Economie Sociale Marchande), created in 1995, to support the selected projects.
The successful projects must meet nine criteria, including profit allocation which focusses on human capital and development of the business. The cooperative must also provide at least one class of shares, with voting rights, which will be accessible to anyone wishing to participate in the project.
Sowecsom will analyse the various projects and encourage the cooperative model by providing 1 euro for every euro capital put in by the cooperative. The maximum amount that can be awarded will 60,000 euros for a cooperative and 100,000 euros for a business with a ‘social purpose’.
Over the past 20 years, Sowecsom has helped 400 projects to the tune of 53 million euros. It is currently providing 17 million euros of financial support to 130 companies.