A new social enterprise in the field of green economy was created in the Municipality of Gotse Delchev within the framework of the implementation of the project SoSEDEE, financed by the contract №V2.9c.01 under the Cross-border Cooperation Program INTERREG V-A Greece-Bulgaria 2014 -2020. The social enterprise "Color City" was established by the Decision of the Municipal Council No. 718 of April 24, 2019, with the vision to improve the economic and social status of vulnerable groups in the area.

The mission of "Color City" is to provide, through an integrated approach, an innovative form of social support for the sustainable and inclusive development and overcoming the social challenges of the long-term unemployed, people leaving specialized institutions and people with disabilities, by ensuring the building of work habits through employment in a social enterprise – greenhouse. For the successful functioning and fulfillment of its social mission, four employees who belong in the target groups of the project were hired a employment contract. They are responsible for the will use and management the municipal property - greenhouse and building with office space, bathroom and storage. The key objectives of "Color City" are:

  1. the provision of sheltered employment opportunities for persons leaving in specialized institutions and long-term unemployed and disadvantaged people in the Gotse Delchev municipality, as an innovative form of social service for creating a supportive environment for active social inclusion, and
  2. to stimulate professional orientation, acquisition of new professional skills and building up work habits by providing equal opportunity in the labor market to vulnerable groups in Gotse Delchev municipality.

Its main activity include planting seeds and cuttings, growing flowers and foliage ornamental plants and selling the flowers and bushes produced in the already built glass greenhouse and nursery with a covered greenhouse and open beds, which will be used for seasonal public flowering at the municipal areas, alleys and grounds for public use, inter-block spaces, playgrounds and sports grounds, courtyards of municipal health and social facilities in Gotse Delchev.

The greenhouse area is 383 m2 and the effective production area is 279 m2. In addition there are 6 covered greenhouses with an area of 17 m2 each and 2 open beds, each with an area of 18 m2. The greenhouse is technological, with automatic control of temperature, humidity, irrigation, shading. These optimal conditions provide a potential opportunity to grow more expensive flowers and plants for offices and business areas. Developing this niche is part of the strategic development of the social enterprise. Within the context of project SoSEDEE, Gotse Delchev Municipality will provide an agronomist or technologist with the necessary knowledge for the technological cultivation of plant species that will not be employed by the employment contract. The necessary technical equipment and materials for the implementation of the activities of the enterprise during the project implementation are provided with the received grant under the administrative contract.

In its vision for future development, the Municipal Social Enterprise "Color City" will seek the assistance of the municipal councilors in the city in order to create more favorable conditions for the development and support of its activities. It will count on building and developing full partnerships with the Peyo Yavorov Vocational High School of Agricultural Mechanization in Gotse Delchev, the Business Incubator in the city, various social partners. Liaison and communication with the target groups - disadvantaged people - will be active. In good partnership with teachers - agronomists familiar with flower growing and vocational training centers, adult training and qualification courses will be available. It will promote its activities and inform the public about the results achieved with the assistance of the media. They will focus on social impact, opportunities to improve the situation of vulnerable groups through employment, and will rely on assistance to protect the flourishing municipal areas.

The social enterprise "Color City" seeks to serve the social and public interest by producing flowers from representatives of socially vulnerable groups, which will be used for the flowering of public spaces, in an innovative way, in a technological greenhouse, through the implementation of an efficient production organization. Measuring the social impact in the community as a result of the work and development of the social enterprise is a real challenge, because the contribution is not only in numbers how many representatives of vulnerable groups are employed in it, how much production is produced and what revenue is being raised, but because the major contribution is the positive change: better well-being and quality of life as a result of protected employment, social inclusion and integration, limiting social exclusion, greater life satisfaction and others.

Gotse Delchev Municipality is a leading beneficiary of the project "Support of Social Enterprises and Enhancement of Employment" with the acronym SoSEDEE and joined the INTERREG V-A Greece-Bulgaria 2014-2020 Cooperation Program to improve the lives of people living in cross-border areas region of Bulgaria. In this context, the municipality develops programs and projects that promote innovation and social entrepreneurship, with priority for vulnerable groups.

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