The Social Business Initiative adopted by the European Commission in 2011 aims to create a favourable environment for the development of social business in Europe, and of the social economy at large. Following the Council of the European Union’s conclusions on promoting social economy as a key driver of economic and social development, co-operations between traditional and social economy enterprises became recognised as means of scaling up social economy enterprises and the place of social innovation and entrepreneurship within the economy.

In this context, the European Commission, through the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), has contracted a consortium with organizations from 10 countries to execute a study that will serve as means for starting the implementation of these Council Conclusions. This study is an important tool to promote entrepreneurship and access to markets for social enterprises and thus, stimulating jobs and growth.

The projects main steps are to:

  • Produce an in-depth analysis of the cooperation between traditional and social enterprises;
  • Define a set of recommendations for different decision makers;
  • Discuss, revise and validate the proposed recommendations with different stakeholders;

The analysis starts with the mapping of the common tendencies, schemes, external and internal difficulties and best practises, including domestic regulations’ favouring, hindering or preventing cooperation between social economy enterprises. On the basis of the analysis performed, there will be conclusions and recommendations provided on how to foster the cooperation between social enterprises and traditional enterprises in the EU.

These recommendations will be discussed in a final conference in Brussels, by representatives of Member States and local authorities, private stakeholders and academics, aiming to raise awareness of the situation and discussing a possible action plan.

The outcomes of the “Social Business Initiative (SBI) Follow-Up: Co-operation between Social Economy Enterprises and Traditional Enterprises” will be used by the European Commission and possibly, Member States and local authorities, in order to develop public policies for the development of social economy enterprises, based on their cooperation with traditional profit-oriented enterprises.

Project partners

  • Technopolis
  • Austrian Institute of Technology AIT
  • i-propeller
  • Lama Development and Cooperation Agency
  • Technology Partners
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Institutul de Prospectiva