European regions that suffer most from the problems of demographic change and depopulation will meet in Soria on the 21st and 22nd of May, at the Meeting on Social Entrepreneurship in Sparsely Populated Areas, organized by El Hueco. Experts from the Scottish Highlands, the Greek area of Mount Olympus, Finnish Lapland and Spain will share experiences and seek solutions to the demographic problem they have in common.
The May meeting will be held in Soria, the capital of the province with the lowest population density in Spain, with just nine inhabitants per square kilometre, and it is part of a territory -the centre of the Spanish mainland-, including provinces like Teruel, Cuenca , Guadalajara, Burgos and Soria.
The conference organized by “El Hueco” features speakers from severalEuropean areas suffering from the same problem, such as the Scottish Highlands (represented by Anne MacDonald, Head of Strengthening Communities Policy Team, Highlands and Islands Enterprise) and the Greek area of Mount Olympus. Kristiina Jokenlainen, an academic with 20 years of experience in the Lapland region of Finland will be the special guest and she will exchange experiences in person with academics such as Professor Mercedes Molina, an expert in local development, or specialists in social entrepreneurship such as Mercedes Valcárcel, advisor of the European Commission on this matter.
For various reasons, these regions of Europe suffer from problems of low population density, especially in rural areas. Usually, these problems are compounded by the aging of the population due to the limited opportunities available for young people. These regions need to retain and attract entrepreneurial talent, especially among young people, in order to develop economic, social and environmental sustainable initiatives that generate development and quality jobs.
The day before this meeting, “El Hueco” will be visited by a delegation of 23 parliamentarians from the German state of Brandenburg, which will develop ideas to combat their population problems. Brandenburg is one of the German locations with a smaller population density.
“El Hueco”, organiser of this event, is a centre of entrepreneurship located in Soria and specialized in social enterprises, with incubation and acceleration programmes especially designed for these enterprises. In “El Hueco” companies like “Huertos de Soria”, Food Prize of Spain 2015, or “La Exclusiva” are housed and chosen by the bank La Caixa as one of the 20 best social enterprises in Spain.
This is the second spring meeting organized by “El Hueco”. Last year more than a hundred people attended the first meeting, which aimed to define the tools of finance for social enterprises. “El Hueco” is also developing a project for the promotion of social entrepreneurship in Dominican Republic and Haiti, funded by the EU.
Registration to participate in this conference is open and it can be done on this website.