SMart was set up as a non-profit organisation in 1998 in Belgium. Its founders were convinced that solutions could be designed that would allow creative professionals to work on their projects without being overwhelmed by administrative burdens and the worry of unpredictable cash-flow.
Over the years more and more people with different profiles and from a diverse range of sectors joined the organisation. Nowadays, SMart doesn’t only cater for creative professionals, but more widely for all new autonomous workers, freelancers who have various types of contracts, different incomes and who work in a wide array of economic sectors and professions.
SMart being a cooperative offers a shared structure for these independent workers, who, because of the nature of their work and the ill adapted legal schemes, find themselves in a precarious situation, often lacking sufficient social protection and a community.
Social innovation is at the heart of this initiative and its three cornerstone values.
Non-profit: Advocating social economy
Our model is based on solidarity and pooling of means.
Need-based: Providing solutions that fit needs expressed
We offer services based on need and stay affordable.
Democracy: Encouraging solidarity, mobility and involvement
Our users are our stakeholders and governors.
Many years have passed since the organisation first began with a few people working away in a cramped office. More services have been developed or are being developed and SMartBe now has close to 170 full-time employees. SMartFr began its operations in 2010 and has been growing steadily. Today SMartFr counts 10 offices and 16 full time employees.
More national operators are being set up in several countries, in an effort to embrace and support international mobility, but also to create a strong international cooperative of autonomous workers with sufficient clout to influence policy.