Boosting Social Enterprise Development

Good Practice Compendium

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Social enterprises are long-standing agents of inclusive growth and democratisation of the economic and social spheres, and they have proved resilient to economic adversity all the while addressing socio-economic challenges in innovative ways, re-integrating people back to the labour market, and contributing to overall social cohesion. This compendium derives policy lessons for boosting social enterprises from the analysis of 20 initiatives in several EU member-countries, covering a range of policy areas from legal frameworks, finance, market access, and support structures, to education and skills.

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In October 2015, the OECD Secretariat launched a call through its website, national and international networks, and the European Commission’s Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship, to collect policies, programmes, and initiatives aiming to support social enterprises. In collaboration with the European Commission, the Secretariat developed a list of criteria, with the goal of selecting policies, programmes, and initiatives that: i) supported social enterprises as defined by the Social Business Initiative; ii) illustrated approaches in the various policy areas of the social enterprise ecosystem; and iii) allowed for a balanced geographical coverage across European Union Member States. Another important criterion was to reach beyond established initiatives and include less well-known or prominent initatives, to further nurture and complement existing work by the OECD, the European Commission and some dedicated networks, such as the Social Enterprise Network. Lastly, cases that could demonstrate both systemic impact in supporting social enterprises effectively, as well as a potential for replication in different contexts, were prioritised.


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