We continue our series of blogs exploring best practice examples of Community Economic Development from around the globe, this time we take a (digital) trip to Montreal, Canada to understand how RESO has helped consolidate and develop South-West companies to create and maintain of jobs in the face of de-industrialisation.

RESO (Regroupement Economique et social du Sud Ouest) is a Community Economic Development Corporation, working to achieve both economic & social revitalisation in Montreal’s South-Western districts. It emerged from several decades of community action following a period of catastrophic industrial decline. From 1967 to 1988, the area lost 20,000 industrial jobs and saw a deterioration in living standards. The population also decreased from a high of 100,000 residents in 1950 to 69,000 in 1988.

RESO is community-led but with private, trade union & public sector involvement. Its objective is to create an economic, social and cultural future for residents in South-West Montreal which is sustainable, equitable and ‘built on the ‘the commitment and consultation of the population and social and economic partners’. Specifically, RESO aims to re-engage local people in their local economy particularly including the unemployed, potential entrepreneurs, local businesses, young adults, community organisations and social enterprises.

The services that RESO provide to these target groups includes:

  • human resource development & training,
  • technical assistance aimed at business retention
  • issues related to land use, development of infrastructure
  • representation, consultation & promotion relating to development in the area.

Key features of this approach for the UK context

RESO brings together all the partners for whom the local economy needs to work: not just business and public sector, but trade unions and civil society.

An emphasis on locally owned business as well as on local workforce: aiming to meet the needs of both through its support initiatives in a distinctive locally tailored way.

Having an explicitly socio-economic aim as its basis, rather than focusing purely on growth regardless of who benefits; using this as a way of targeting disadvantage and raising up the whole of the local area. RESO builds bridges between social inclusion, labour, business owners, investors, procurers, achieving big impacts on not only on poverty and social exclusion but also on reversing historic economic decline.

Learn more

More information is available from the RESO Website.

Also see: Lewis, M. & Swinney, D. (2008) Social economy? Solidarity economy? Exploring the implications of conceptual nuance for acting in a volatile world. Centre for Community Enterprise, Canada.

You can learn more about Community Economic Development at http://localisingprosperity.org.uk/