European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Be a social entrepreneur!

Do you make a point of doing for the others, protecting the environment and are you willing to do anything in order these priorities? If your answer is yes, you can do: start your own social enterprise!


What are social enterprises?


Social enterprises are mainly non-profit initiatives which have a social objective instead of profit maximization. If it realizes profit it serves the target community’s interest rather than the owner’s one. Social enterprises operating in the European Union consist only 10 percent of the enterprises regardless their form or objectives. Social entrepreneurs employ nearly 11 million citizens mainly from the excluded members of the societies. In order to increase this number and to raise the awareness of social enterprises, EuCham has recently organized its Social Business Forum. The presentations of the conference centered on the ideal type of Muhammad Yunnus whose economic model based on microfinance to support these initiatives granting their communities’ development.


Best practices from all over the world


Antonella Noya from OECD shared the outcomes of the research executed on social entrepreneurs within the organization. OECD highlights the importance of raising awareness on this innovative business form. Speakers of the conference promoted their own projects and the outcomes of them how their target communities developed or how they assisted in solving an existing social problem. Best practices were introduced from outside the borders of the European Union such as the Swiss incubator program or the cooperation realized with the partnership of Danone and Grameen Bank where the “Danone Ladies” assisted in food distribution to reduce the child hunger in Bangladesh. Initiatives can solve problems arising from the health-care system or governmental failure such as the problem of unemployment. A Swiss social enterprise created a “job factory” offering practical-based trainings with duration from 6 to 8 months to increase the chance of citizens excluded from the society entering into the labor market. Trainings consist of language courses or competences meeting the requirements of the employers.


Financial support


Social enterprises are supported from public resources or private investments. The European Union shows its commitment by financing social enterprises through the European Social Fund, but decision-makers plans to create new funds in the framework “European Social Entrepreneurship Funds”.

"Social businesses embody just the kind of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth and innovation that is so important for today's European economy. Our new measures will help build these businesses across Europe, ensuring they get the financial support they need so that they can grow – especially in these times of crisis." – published his opinion, Internal Market Commisioner Michael Barnier.


The very first steps


Presenters of the conference highlighted the importance of the networks because the continuous communication, mutual knowledge can contribute the success of the projects. At first, it is worth to be an intern in one of these enterprises but other institutions dealing with social enterprises such as the Grameen Bank is eager to employ the enthusiastic candidates to build their capacities or social capital. Being in possession of social capital you can easily convince potential investors to support your activity and can create your long-term strategy. Cooperation of different sectors is necessary such as having connection with the governmental one but the most essential factor is dreaming and realizing it. The message sent to the youth by the presenters is the following: “dare to dream, dare to do!”

Vandlik Mária


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Published: Sun, 16/03/2014 - 00:06

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