EU + OECD: Policy Brief on Social Entrepreneurship

Key messages:

  • In social enterprises (also known as social businesses), entrepreneurial behaviour is combined with a desire to use the market as a tool for meeting social needs, serving the general interest and common good for the benefit of the community.
  • Working with social enterprises and promoting their development can result in short and long-term gains for public budgets through reduced public expenditures and increased tax revenues compared with other methods of addressing social needs. Social enterprises can also often be more effective in meeting public goals than either purely private or purely public sector actors because of their local roots and knowledge and their explicit social missions.
  • Starting a social enterprise is accompanied not only by all of the challenges which any entrepreneur must face, but also those which stem from the social dimension. This can be compounded by unfavourable environments characterised by a lack of understanding of the dual economic and social foci of social enterprises.
  • Putting in place policies that provide an enabling eco-system for social enterprises, not only at start-up stage but also beyond, is crucial if these businesses are to fulfil their potential. Policies should focus on promoting social entrepreneurship, building enabling legal, regulatory and fiscal frameworks, providing sustainable finance, offering business development services and support structures, supporting access to markets and supporting further research into the sector.


Available for download here.