Social innovation in Sicily: the story of L’Arcolaio
5 October 2020 - Webmaster

Social innovation in Sicily starting from ethical work in prisons

L’Arcolaio is a Social Cooperative born in 2003 from the collaboration of its founder, Giovanni Romano, with the administration of the Syracuse Penitentiary and the consortium of social cooperatives Con.solida.s, experts in the management of work integration programs for disadvantaged people. A project that was born with the aim of countering the punitive vision of detention, offering training and professional programs focused on the human and emotional dimension of prisoners and enhancing individual skills. Since the beginning of the program, in fact, prisoners have been able to have a work experience regularly contracted and paid, benefiting from training opportunities and psychological support.

Initially the cooperative was engaged in the production of organic bread, but the commercial difficulties encountered to position the product on the market, pushes towards the organic, gluten-free and fair trade production of almond pastries and other traditional Sicilian sweets. This is how a couple of years later the Dolci Evasioni brand was born, which conquered the national market through stores specialized in organic and fair trade products, fair trade stores and fair trade buying groups.

A few years later, the cooperative wants to grow the activities carried out within the prison and plans to develop a branch of the project and turn it to catering. It is precisely this new idea that brings them to us, in Impact Hub Siracusa. After a phase of evaluation and analysis carried out together with our team, L’Arcolaio is the first client to be included in the Jeremie Sicilia project, promoted by Banca Etica. Through the Jeremie Fund, in fact, the Region of Sicily and the European Investment Fund have allocated resources to support the development of Sicilian SMEs operating for social purposes. The objective, to follow it with an investigation for the access to microcredit.

Giovanni Romano, continues to be a major player in the activities of social impact on Syracuse, as well as always present in the local activities of Impact Hub. Like us, he firmly believes in the power of the networks and resources of our territory. Today the game is open: and is to create the conditions to generate impact on the territory by uniting the public with the private, the profit with the non-profit, with the aim of restructuring the economy of the territory.