FOSO POCO - Fostering Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Post-Covid-19

Cork City Council, Malta Enterprises and Tartu City Council have commenced a new year-long EU-funded project focused on social entrepreneurship in 2021. FOSO-POCO focuses on creating better understanding of the conditions for social entrepreneurship by directly involving relevant actors and stakeholders in efforts to identify and address existing gaps in the supports for social enterprises.

Co-funded by the COSME Programme of the EU


Objectives of FOSO-POCO

The project has 3 specific objectives:

  1. Creating better understanding of the state-of-play and potential of social entrepreneurship locally, by identifying and directly involving the relevant stakeholders and the use of best practices and expert involvement to address existing gaps in supports available;
  2. Assisting promising social enterprises to pilot, pitch and internationalise their product or services through the networks of the project partners;
  3. Establishing local supports to assist social enterprises in a post-Covid economy which hopefully results in furthering their viability and job creation prospects.

Our partners and what we will be doing?

The partners in this project are Tartu City Council, Cork City Council and Malta Enterprise, who will act as lead partner.  Each partner will organise a number of stakeholder meetings where gaps in the support services available to social enterprises are mapped and analysed. A peer review of the situation in each of the 3 participating countries will be undertaken by the stakeholders. A survey of local stakeholders is also being conducted. The findings from these meetings will be presented and shared at 3 workshops organised by the partners from Ireland, Malta and Estonia and where local and national stakeholders can participate.


Cork is a vibrant and dynamic city located in the south of Ireland. It is a regional hub full of enterprise and creativity and is home to over 200,000 people. See or Doing Business in Cork.



Tartu is the 2nd biggest city in Estonia with nearly 100 000 inhabitants. The city has a unique innovation and business environment with strong cooperation between universities, public sector and enterprises.

Also, Tartu is the Cultural Capital of Europe 2024!



Malta Enterprise (ME) was established in 2004 and is Malta’s national development agency. The agency is responsible for promoting and facilitating international investment in the Maltese Islands by offering investors tailored services as well as coordinating initiatives to promote the country’s economic growth attractiveness. Malta Enterprise is also responsible for the growth and development of Maltese enterprises.


As part of the project we are carrying out a short online survey of organisations working in the field of social enterprise in Malta, Ireland and Estonia. The survey results will be used in the preparation of the final report that will inform national and EU policies in this area and is of particular interest to policy makers because it is addressing the challenges facing social enterprises in the post COVID-19 period.

The online survey covers the following topics:

  • Social Entrepreneurship Culture
  • Institutional Framework
  • Legal & Regulatory Framework
  • Access to Finance
  • Access to Markets

If you are an organisation working in the field of social enterprise in Ireland, Malta or Estonia and would like to take part in the survey, please contact your local national representative.


    • July 21st , hosted by Cork City Council, Ireland - address the challenges faced by social enterprises in the post COVID-19 economy                                                                                                                                                                                    

      Agenda for the Workshop hosted by Cork City Council: Fostering Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Post-Covid 19

      Kuidas saab sotsiaalseid ettevõtteid toetada nende eesmärkide saavutamisel ja COVID-19 väljakutsetega toimetulekul?

      Workshop Report

      Cork City Council’s Economic Development Section hosted a very successful workshop today, as part of the EU supported FOSO-POCO Project, which is looking at developing policies in the area of support for social enterprise. The Project partners are: Cork City Council, Tartu City Council, Estonia and Malta Enterprises, Malta. Todays on-line workshop focused on the theme of Fostering Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Post-Covid 19. Over 50 people from Ireland, Estonia and Malta attended the workshop where they received presentations on the Irish and Cork eco systems for social enterprises and case study presentations from: Rethink Ireland, Metiheal Mara, Cork Deaf Enterprises and Northside for Business. A key note address was given by Mikel Irujo Amezaga, Minister for Economic and Business Development in the Regional Government of Navarre in Spain and Rapporteur European Committee of the Regions on the renowned role that social enterprises play in Navarre, Northern Spain.

      Mr Donal Guerin from the Economic Development Section of Cork City Council who organized the workshop said that:

      “The workshop brought together practitioners in the field of social enterprise from right across the EU. We learned that we face many of the same challenges arising from Covid-19, but there was agreement that social enterprises will play a major role in leading the recovery”.                                                                                                                                                   

More information on the workshop can be viewed in the Cork Workshop Report


  • Aug 25th, hosted by Tartu City Council, Estonia - will bring a European perspective into play, focused on boosting learning between social economy stakeholders in the three regions and supporting the fostering of a wider inter-regional social economy community.

  • Sept 30th  - Organised by Malta Enterprises. The 3rd workshop of the project is to improve collaboration in each region between existing local networks and stakeholders and supporting the fostering of a local social economy community.

Case studies Tartu

Triumf Health has created a mobile health game for children’s wellbeing. Triumf Health offers children an informative, yet fun journey to empower them with skills and knowledge to help them develop. They have started from chronic illnesses and the mental burden related to disease management. Now, the platform is expanded to respond to the coronavirus pandemic related environmental stress that has became chronic. They have done reasearch collaboration with Tartu University Hospital, University of Tartu and cooperating with the local government to pilot their product in the schools of Tartu. Visit Triumf Health for further information.

Fudler is a platform, where you can buy restaurants' unsold but tasty food for a cheaper price.

Fudler is on a mission to help reduce food waste. Over 20 mln euros worth of food gets wasted in Estonian restaurants and cafes every year. A large amount of this food is however both high-quality and delicious. Fudler's goal is to find buyers for this kind of food that would otherwise be thrown out.

You can discover more about Fudler on the Fudler website, Facebook or by email.

Köömen offers authentic ethnic cuisine to the local food scene, made by refugees and migrants who have resettled in Estonia. We offer catering, take-away and cooking workshops - both for companies, as well as individuals. All the activities and food are made by refugees and migrants - according to their own family recipes. Our goals is to help refugees and migrants utilize their skills and enter the labor market. We do so by providing on the job language training, cultural orientation and work experience - all while delivering delicious meals to the local market. You can discover more about Köömen by visiting the Köömen website, Instagram, Facebook or by email.  

Case Study Cork

Churchfield Community Trust CLG

Who We Are

Churchfield Community Trust a community-based organisation is situated of the Northside of Cork City.We are a community-based organisation located on the Northside of Cork City.

We respond to a very specific group of young people who need intensive support, therapeutic interventions, stability, and acceptance, to achieve sustainable change at a crucial time in their lives.

Churchfield Community trust offers vocational training, continuing education, and enterprise skills with a focus on further education. Special category community employment and continuing adult education initiatives provide a platform for progression to sustainable employment and re-integration within communities of origin for our participants. Churchfield Community Trust works collaboratively with people on Special Category Substance Misuse Community Employment and TUS through the provision of personal, vocational, and educational supports.

Our Mission

Churchfield Community Trust as an organisation believes that all people should have the opportunity and supportive environment to overcome challenges re alcohol, substance misuse and offending behaviour.

Our practice is grounded in the principles of the person-centred Servol Model and remains mindful of the core values:

  • Maintaining a philosophy of Ignorance, in that we never assume that we know the needs of the clients we are trying to help.
  • Listening attentively so that we become more informed of their needs.
  • Being aware of our cultural arrogance so that we can make respectful interventions and become partners with the client as they strive towards their goals

The organisation works from a relationship model. The focus is person centred and individual programmes are put in place in partnership with each participant according to their needs. It tries to make respectful interventions, to always foster responsibility and model open and honest communication

Social Enterprise Initiatives

As an organisation we facilitate hands on experiential training and mentoring in the following social enterprise initiatives:                                                                                                     

  • Compass Crafts: At our workshop in Knockfree Avenue our carpentry team design, develop and manufacture outdoor garden and indoor early years furniture which is made to measure in response to individual needs.
  • Garden Café: The Garden Café is open to the public Monday to Friday throughout the year. Certified training and mentoring in food and beverage, barista coffee, food hygiene HACCP, customer service is provided in a live café environment which is open to the public.
  • Garrai an Aonaigh: This ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative from our own gardens using the organic principle. Our horticulture team mentor participants in growing and supply of seasonal vegetables and herbs at our growing sites at Hydro Farm Tower and Cork Foyer, respectively. The growing and supply of vegetables and herbs initiative to local restaurants continued under the direction of Horticulture Team Leader Mairead Kelly.
  • Continuing Development: There has been significant infrastructure developments during 2020 in the context of medium to long term investment in social enterprise within Churchfield Community Trust. These developments were made possible following Support form Statutory and Non-Statutory bodies such as Probation Service, Cork City Council, ESB Energy for Generations Fund, Dept of Rural and Community Development, respectively. The team are currently engaging with Health Service Executive regarding the planning of a long-term horticulture site at the newly developed Health Service Executive St. Mary’s Primary Care Campus.

New Initiatives

Lord Mayor Cllr. Joe Kavanagh officially launched the Cara Meals on Wheels Community Van on 5 May 2021.  The Cara Van is a collaboration between Cork City Council, the HSE, and Churchfield Community Trust who have partnered with three local Meals on Wheels groups to deliver meals to vulnerable members of the community across the Northwest of the City. Cork City Council provided funding to purchase the van through the Community Enhancement Programme which is managed by the LocalCommunity Development Committee and RAPID. The project is managed by Churchfield Community Trust and works in a close partnership with St. Mary’s Senior Citizens Meals on Wheels, Gurranbraher Meals on Wheels, and Farranree Community Association Meals on Wheels. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said:

“Covid-19 highlighted the key role played by the Meals on Wheels services across the city, the essential link provided by Meals on Wheels goes far beyond the hot meal that is delivered.  Strengthening and supporting this essential service through the Cara Van is a fantastic collaboration.”

Paul O’Donnell, Manager of Churchfield Community Trust said:

“I’m delighted that Churchfield Community Trust is a partner in this new initiative, further embedding the project into the community.”

Continuing Research

As a community-based organisation Churchfield Community Trust places a high value in engaging with continuing academic research while identifying key learnings from initiatives such as Atlantic Social Lab, Community Academic Research Links – University College Cork and Irish Research Council.

During 2020 & 2021 respectively Churchfield Community Trust engaged with Trinity College Dublin MBA and EMBA programmes respectively in the context of development of a sustainable business model re the planned horticulture social enterprise initiative at St. Marys- Primary Care Campus. Most recently collaboration re development of a mentoring programme for employers & persons who have engaged with the Criminal Justice System progressing has identified pathways to integration, continuing education and sustainable employment.

Case Study Malta

VALLETTA DESING CLUSTER: The Valletta Design Cluster is a community space which enables innovation, its main focuses are design, entrepreneurship, and social impact.

The building housing the Valletta Design Cluster is steeped in history. Built in the 17th century, it served first as slaughterhouse and is in fact known as the Old Abattoir till today.

The Valletta Design Cluster believes that by engaging in activities that improve social well-being it can serve better its communities and fulfil its role as a platform for empowerment and exchange. To this effect, its understanding of design is informed by principles of inclusivity, co-creation and experimentation. Cultural practice, sustainable enterprise, and socially-engaged initiatives can be important contributors in translating this vision into reality.

Inspired by these principles, the working definition of design that guides the work of the Valletta Design Cluster, and that is being used in the engagement with its community of users and members, is the following:

‘Design is a user-centred approach to problem-solving that can be applied across the private and public sectors to drive innovation in products, services, society and even policy-making by putting people first.’

The Valletta Design Cluster is a community space for cultural and creative practice run by the Valletta Cultural Agency. The project provides public space accessible to the general public on the roof and in the central courtyard. These public spaces are free to access during regular opening hours and do not require membership or prior registration. On the other hand, the main facilities for cultural and creative practitioners are accessible via a membership scheme aimed at providing equitable accessibility to resources, safeguarding health and safety to users, and ensuring an effective management of the members community. The scheme runs in two strands: (a) a regular members strand and (b) a studio-based members strand.


If you would like to find out more about FOSO POCO contact:

Pedro Fernandez Alvarez

Head, EU Projects - Corporate Programmes and Initiatives
Malta Enterprise


Tel. +356 2247 7600 Dir. +356 2247 7617 

Donal Guerin

Strategic and Economic Development, Cork City Council, City Hall, City Hall


Tel: +353 21 238 9856

Katrin Reiljan

Tartu City Council, Estonia


Phone 372 5334 5253