Freiss (pronounced frez) is a mission driven micro consultancy specialising in social innovation and inclusive entrepreneurship. The company was started in March 2003 by Peter Ramsden. It has worked extensively in the UK and the European Union and occasionally beyond including a major project in China in 2008.
Prior to founding Freiss, Peter worked in Brussels in the 1990s at the European Commission and for Enterprise plc. He is widely credited with contributing to major innovations in the content of the EU’s cohesion policy at this time and specifically with bringing in a focus on financial initiatives (venture funds, microfinance and social investment), measures for technological innovation and cultural industries and a stronger bottom-up focus on policy development particularly in the community economic development measures in UK Objective 2 programmes and the Pathways priority (in Merseyside).
Clients have included the European commission, the World Bank, the EU funded URBACT and EQUAL programmes, UK, Belgian, German and French government departments, regional development agencies and local government. Freiss also works extensively within the social economy and has been a champion of the Microfinance movement and a supporter of locally based enterprise and employment initiatives.
Projects have included evaluations, action plans, visioning excercises, policy development, exchange of experience and transfer of best practice. Freiss now specialises in supporting learning networks in policy development. Freiss has supported the development of the Community of Practice on Inclusive Entrepreneurship and was a founder of the website http://wikipreneurship.eu as an open source repository of good practice.
Freiss has close and long standing links with a number of think tanks and policy institutes in Europe including the New Economics foundation neweconomics.org , Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion http://www.cesi.org.uk/ focusing on employment and training in the UK and the Young Foundation http://www.youngfoundation.org.uk/ which champions social innovation. At different times over the past 30 years Peter has worked for each of these organisations or their predecessors.
At EU level Freiss has supported the setting up and development of the European MicroFinance network and carried out work on its evaluation and for the National action plans for inclusion as well as contributing to annual meetings.
Freiss maintains close links with activists across Europe who are working towards a more sustainable and just economy and society.In the private sector and social economy these allies include Martin Jung and Jan Evers in Hamburg, Faisel Rahman of fair finance in London, Richard Harding based in Bucharest, Ben Metz of Ashoka in London, Magda Barcelo of Equilibra consulting in Barcelona, Paul Soto of Grupoalba in Brussels, Philip Stein based near Brussels, Katalin Kolosy of Aeidl in Brussels but based in toulouse, Arnaud Berger formerly of ADIE and now based in London and Graham Meadows in Brussels.