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The number of social enterprises in Europe is increasing and they are engaging in new fields. Many countries are introducing new legislation as well as new support schemes to boost the development of social enterprises.
Both public and private markets offer new opportunities for social enterprises to start up and grow, reveals a new report published by the European Commission.
Examples of underlying factors behind the development of social enterprises in Europe include
However there are also constrains and challenges that can hamper the development of social enterprises.
New country reports provide a comprehensive picture of social enterprises and their eco-systems in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Slovakia and Poland, based on a common definition. A concise EU report sums up key lessons on the recent developments in Europe. The research was conducted by independent academics supported by the EMES network and the EURICSE research centre. In each country the researchers engaged in an interactive process with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the accuracy of the picture.
The reports place social enterprises in their societal and economic context, notably explaining their relation to so called social economy, which have a strong tradition for example Italy, France, Spain and Belgium. An important finding is that both social economy and social enterprises have shown resilience and job retention during the economic crises and beyond. Because they respond to concrete societal needs and are often locally rooted, they are not exposed to speculative risks or job losses due to relocations.
These new reports are part of the Commission's exercise of gradually up-dating the map of social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe, first published in 2014.