Exploiting Potentials of Social Enterprises through Standardized European Evaluation and Development System
Recent years have seen a burgeoning interest in social enterprises (SEs) across Europe, strongly driven by a growing recognition of the role social enterprises can play in tackling emerging challenges.SOCIAL SEEDS brings together regional and national policymakers committed to drive social change in their respective regions and countries, by improving policy instruments (within the Operational Programmes they own as Managing Authorities).
Why social entrepreneurship matters?
Yet, despite interest in and the emergence of examples of inspirational and ‘disruptive’ social enterprises, relatively little is known about the scale as well as the ecosystems of the emerging social enterprise ‘sector’ of Europe as a whole. Particularly in the current period of economic and social recovery, social enterprises are able to bring innovative solutions for social cohesion and inclusion, job creation, growth and the promotion of active citizenship. Social enterprises contribute to smart growth by responding with social innovation to needs that have not yet been met. For instance, many social enterprises take it for granted to encourage workers to learn and update their skills. They also create sustainable growth by taking into account their environmental impact and by their long-term vision. For example, social enterprises often develop efficient ways to reduce emissions and waste or use natural resources. In addition, social enterprises are at the heart of inclusive growth due to their emphasis on people and social cohesion: they create sustainable jobs for women, young people and the elderly. It is precisely the positive impact of social enterprises on society, the environment and communities which can contribute to implementing the Europe 2020 Strategy and the aim of the Single Market Act for a 'highly competitive social market economy'.
What policy landscape is available in Europe designed for boosting social enterprises?
Despite most social enterprises lack adequate resources (access to finance, markets, skilled workforce, supportive policy measures, entrepreneurial skillsets), yet, only eight countries (Bulgaria, Greece, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden, and United Kingdom) have a policy framework in place to encourage the development of such enterprises via legal, administrative and financial instruments. So far, the diversity of national economic structures, welfare and cultural traditions and legal frameworks have meant the main burdens for measuring and comparing social enterprise activity and competitiveness across Europe.
Our solution to Europe's challenge - SOCIAL SEEDS approach for better and more efficient policies at regional and national levels
Motivated by the above challenges, SOCIAL SEEDS aims to to equip policymakers with evidence-based policy diagnostic tool that increases the effectiveness of local and regional policies and instruments for stimulation of growth and employment (preferably of vulnerable social groups) in social enterprises (SE) including their ecosystems in European cities and regions. To this end, regional and local government-run measurement and labelling scheme addressed to social enterprises (SE) will be established in order to help policymakers’ concrete actions towards creating the right conditions to allow the sector to thrive. This new scheme will be fully exploitable regardless of sectors, size of enterprises, maturity and aligned throughout three different policymaking spheres, namely the micro, mezzo and macro-levels.
SOCIAL SEEDS project co-funded by INTERREG Europe Programme.