The foundation of the Civil Economy School (SEC)

A few of the major crusaders for a civil economy in Italy promote the Civil Economy School (SEC), established in the Lionello Business Center on May 19.

By Antonella Ferrucci

Silvia Vacca ridWe interviewed Silvia Vacca, the young entrepreneur of the renewable energy worker and producer cooperative Etica nel sole. She is from Turin and has a 5 and an eight year old boy. She worked hard to start up the SEC and is the chairman of the board. 

What is SEC?

It is the acronym for Civil Economy School in Italian (Scuola di Economia Civile). Through research and studies, the school intends to promote a human-centered civil market where people's needs, aspirations and progress come before economic growth. It calls on economic actors to work in synergy for the common good, and to fight the unilateral for-profit economic logic, which led the world into this crisis.

Who, and how was it conceived?

I guess many people had this idea in mind long ago. But only in September 2012 we began to work on the school's project during a meeting with Luigino Bruni and the future shareholders. He chose them due to their competence and motivations, and the mission of their organizations. From the beginning there was mutual trust and teamwork among everyone. From a group of strangers they became partners and agreed to start up this school. It is based on their common vision on civil economy. These were the institutions represented in this first meeting: Banca Etica, Acli, Cooperatives Federation of Trent Federcasse, Sophia University Institute and Lionello Bonfanti Business Center.

What are the goals of the project?

130312 Trento SEC ridWe want to promote awareness of the economic principles – the people-centered approach and the common good – that are essential in any socially-committed organization. The goal is to offer cultural and professional studies to third-sector professionals who will run non-profit organizations. This program is especially necessary for those cooperatives that chose corporate directors to run their activities. Since they can't find competent voluntary managers they hire capitalist managers who are rather indifferent to their founding values. They lead workers away from their original commitment to those values. You can imagine the damage! Furthermore, the SEC will offer courses for for-profit entrepreneurs. It will teach them the core values that allow economic development to serve social sustainability and promote common good and well-being. Many businesses have asked us for this training as the crisis compel them to tackle social problems through 'civil initiatives'.

Who can take part in the program?

Leaders of organizations are invited to enroll in the SEC. Top directors of institutions, associations and companies or experienced professionals, who are likely to become a manager, can apply. It is not a school for young graduates. In addition, we will run courses for school professionals, in particular teachers and deans. The modular curriculum is flexible and each participant can adapt it to suit their working schedule. The credits can be used to obtain a Master degree at the Sophia University or other universities.

When do the lessons begin?

The courses will start next fall. SEC's official inauguration will take place during the LoppianoLab at the Lionello Business Center in Loppiano September 20. The event will be held where the school's head-office will be established.

Anything else you want to add about the SEC?

Logo SEC ridYes. First, I'd like to point out that people from different backgrounds founded this school. ACLI and the EoC Spa are Catholic organizations while Banca Etica, Federcasse and the Trentinian Federation are secular institutions. Despite these differences, the members share the same basic motivations and convictions. The SEC is committed in the political sphere. The teaching staff and scientific committee is led by the renowned professors Stefano Zamagni, Luigino Bruni and Renato Ruffini. They are the main crusaders for a civil economy in Italy. Second, the SEC is a limited liability company which develops socially-oriented studies. The LLC's agreement includes the EoC profit distribution principles. The shareholders get a small part of the revenue; the rest will be reinvested in the company and its educational fund. This capital will be managed according to the spirit of the school.

See article in Avvenire of May 17, 2013

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