Nancy Neamtan
President/Executive Director, Chantier, Québec (Canada)
Mrs. Neamtan is President/Executive Director of the Chantier de l’économie sociale, a Quebec-wide non-profit organisation representing networks of social enterprises (cooperatives and non-profits), local development organisations and social movements. The mission of the Chantier de l’économie sociale is the promotion and development of collective entrepreneurship. Ms Neamtan was the founder (1997) and President of RISQ (Réseau d’investissement social du Québec), a 15$ million investment fund dedicated to the non-profit and cooperative sector. Since November 2006, she is President of the Fiducie du Chantier de l’économie sociale, a 53$ million investment fund for social enterprises.
From 1999 to 2009 Ms. Neamtan was Co-Director of ARUC-ÉS (Community University Research Alliance on the Social Economy She is presently co-president of a new organisation, TIESS, a centre for knowledge transfert in social innovation, the social economy and territorial development. Prior to the creation of the Chantier, Ms. Neamtan was Executive Director of RESO (1989-1998), a community economic development corporation, devoted to the economic and social renewal of southwest Montreal.

Ms Neamtan is recognised internationally as an expert on the social and solidarity economy, working in collaboration with international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation and the OCDE's Forum on social innovation. She is a member of the Board of Directions of RIPESS, the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social and Solidarity Economy.

In 2012, Ms Neamtan was appointed Officer of the Ordre National du Québec.
“Innovative Partnerships to Revitalize Communities: Lessons from Québec”
The social economy is fundamentally a citizen-based response to the needs and aspirations of communities. Through the integration of social, economic and environmental concerns into the very process of development and wealth creation, the social economy works from an economic logic that priorizes community benefit over private profit. To reach its full potential, the social economy must mobilise citizens, institutions, governments in new partnerships that are beneficial to all.
The Québec experience of the social economy grew from citizen mobilisation in urban neighbourhoods in the early 80’s. In the context of industrial decline and high unemployment, community based organisations initiated long term partnerships with the private sector, unions, institutions and governments to revitalise urban neighbourhoods. Today the social economy has gained recognition at a national level and has become an integral part of development tools for neighbourhoods, cities, rural communities and regions. One of the key success factors has been the ongoing dialogue between civil society and governments and their capacity to work together to advance the social economy agenda. This dialogue has been facilitated by the cohesion within civil society organisations.
The Chantier de l’économie sociale, recognised as a key player and representative of the social economy movement, brings together networks of social economy enterprises (cooperatives and non-profits), local development organisations, social movements, researchers and other partners to promote and support the development of social economy enterprises. As a ‘network of networks’ it has become a leader in social innovation and created a wide range of partnerships that have allowed local communities to access financial tools, technical support, research and a range of public policies to support the development of social economy enterprises.
The Québec experience is not unique; in many countries around the world these types of partnerships have been crucial for the recognition and expansion of the social economy. This is particularly true in the context of cities, where complex problems require innovative solutions and new ways of working together. What are the most important lessons from Québec and other cities and countries? How can we build on these lessons and move together to strengthen the social economy locally, nationally and internationally?