Social entrepreneurship: new standard to measure social impact

20/06/2014 Social entrepreneurship: new standard to measure social impact

A new standard to allow social enterprises of all sizes to better measure and demonstrate their social impact and so help them in their discussions with partners, investors, and public sector funders has been published by the European Commission.

The standard, featured in a report on social impact measurement, will help European social enterprises to benefit from funding via the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) and the new Employment and Social Innovation programme (EaSI).

The report has been endorsed by an expert group on social entrepreneurship (GECES) set up by the Commission.

The report found that it was not possible to devise a rigid set of indicators in a top-down way to measure social impact in all cases. Instead, it proposes a standard for social impact measurement in five stages, which is flexible enough to be adapted to the needs of very different social enterprises.

The necessity for a standard for the measurement of social impact is important in terms of funding:

  • the EaSI programme stipulates that social enterprises must demonstrate that they are focused on achieving measurable, positive social or societal impacts in order to benefit from support;
  • the new EuSEFs also require social businesses seeking financing to measure their social impact.

The development of a standard should help to avoid the current duplication of costs due to the fact that there are different approaches, as well as encouraging best practice in the rapidly evolving field of social impact measurement.

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