Early 1990s

Around 1992, Isidor Wallimann initiates the “interest group social economy” (Interessengemeinschaft Soziale Ökonomie) to discuss current issues of the Swiss economy and social services, and to find potential solutions for the rising unemployment and poverty levels. Numerous interested parties from universities, aid organisations and social services, but also from environmental policy, ecology, economy and sociology join the cause.


To politically advance the social movement and socio-economic model behind it, the association “Social Economy” (Förderverein Soziale Ökonomie) is established (according to Swiss Civil Code, articles 60 et seq.). The founders are Isidor Wallimann, Hans-Georg-Heimann, founder of the “inter-professional labour union” (IGA) and co-founder of Basel’s “work committees”, as well as the social worker Peter Hagemann, who first recorded the association’s guiding principles.


On occasion of the “World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty” in 1996, the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) launches a fund for projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving social integration. The association “Social Economy” submits a project idea under the title of “Network Future” (Netzwerk Zukunft) and is awarded in 1997. Because the name is already used by a German organisation, the project is renamed “Cooperative Network Social Economy” (Genossenschaft Netz Soziale Ökonomie).


At the general meeting in November 1998, the foundation of the cooperative “Network Social Economy” is officially concluded. Later that year, the cooperative is officially registered in the commercial registry (according to Swiss Code of Obligations, articles 828 et seq.). The founders and their respective organisations are: Isidor Wallimann (Verein Soziale Ökonomie), Hans-Georg Heimann (Café philo.sophes), Cathérine Merz (Arbeitslosenkomitee), Luke Dannacher (Oekoladen Theaterpassage), Jürgen Mempel (Phönix-Druck Genossenschaft), Dieter Jenzer (IG-Naturbaukultur), Christoph Gessler (Verein Pro Longo Mai Basel) und Elisabeth Blösch (VCS Basel-Stadt/Basellandschaft).


The cooperative launches the regional currency “BonNetzBon” (GoodNetworkVoucher) which is renamed “NetzBon” in 2015.


Urban Agriculture Network Basel (Urban Agriculture Netz Basel), the first Swiss organisation to advocate a city with agriculture, is founded. As another umbrella organisation, it connects and brings together over 40 different organisations and projects.


Together with the Slovak NGO “Zivica”, the Social Economy establishes a local currency and the concept of urban agriculture in Bratislava and Zvolen.