1st WG3 Meeting "Towards an enabling ecosystem for social enterprises"

Feb 12 - Feb 13, 2020

University of Bucharest


The analysis of social enterprises’ dynamics from an analytical and comparative perspective corroborates that they operate in a rather complex “ecosystem”.


This ecosystem is shaped by the interplay between diverse factors:

  • citizens’ ability to self-organise, which drives the upsurge and development of social enterprises from the bottom up and also explains the setting up of networks by social enterprises themselves;
  • the degree of visibility and recognition enjoyed by social enterprises at different levels (political and legal recognition, recognition through private marks and self-recognition by the same social enterprises);
  • the capacity to access different kinds of resources, including resources for establishment and consolidation, resources from income-generating activities, repayable resources and tax breaks and fiscal benefits;
  • the development of research aimed at exploring social enterprise from a national and comparative perspective and the existence of educational and skills development opportunities designed to enhance the competitive advantages of social enterprises in tackling economic and social concerns.

The relative importance of each of these factors varies significantly across countries and over time, depending on the phase of development of the social enterprise.


WG3 aims at encouraging a fruitful discussion forum among researchers and stakeholders from diverse countries that are interested in exploring and/or supporting social enterprise development and scaling.

The specific objective of WG3 is to equip major SE stakeholders with robust knowledge to understand how the different elements that compose the eco-system of SE in each country interact and can have an impact on the scaling of SE, both wide and deep.

Presenters will be encouraged to critically analyse the diverse factors that contribute to shaping social enterprise development against the most recent literature exploring the upsurge of social enterprise, social enterprise recognition, access to resources and research, education and skills development.

The activities within this WG will focus on:

  • Defining the components of the SE ecosystem as described above;
  • Analysing how the ecosystem of SE is shaped in selected countries, whether all the above mentioned components are present and what role is played by specific components.
  • Developing recommendations addressed to both EU institutions and individual countries – including national and local public authorities – with a view to supporting SE further development and scaling up.


Members of the MC with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and research experiences in one of the key areas to be discussed will be encouraged to participate either as invited speakers, chairs and discussants or as selected presenters of case studies.

A call for case studies will be launched with a view to select between 4 and 8 case study presenters, who will carry out a case study based on a shared template. Examples of case studies include the following:

  • Capacity to self-organize: the development pattern of a selected social enterprise and or a network of social enterprises that have emerged bottom-up thanks to the self-organization capacity of citizens or groups of social enterprises
  • Recognition and visibility: a specific law or policy strategy that has acknowledged social enterprise in a given country, a private mark, the process of self-recognition of a group of social enterprises
  • Access to resources: one particular public support (EU or national) policy scheme; private support initiative (from foundations, social enterprise networks); financing scheme or guarantee agreement available to social enterprises, collaboration modality between social enterprises and public authorities (e.g. via vouchers)
  • Education, research and skills development: an innovative educational programme, research initiative or training programme that had a role in promoting social enterprise at a national or international level

Each program session will include one or two presenters of case studies.