Euclid Network, together with Social Enterprise NL, MOUVES, Social Enterprise UK, Social Investment Business, Competence Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (Vienna) and Smart Kolektiv, are acting to regain momentum for social entrepreneurship in Europe in advance of the first meeting of the renewed Social Business Expert Group (Groupe d’Experts de la Commission sur l’Entrepreneuriat Social, GECES) on 16 September 2015.
Based on the findings from the Euclid social enterprise round table in Brussels in June 2015, we have taken the opportunity to formally address the EU Social Business Expert Group. This open memo to all GECES members presents eight priorities and three specific initiatives to support the development of social enterprise in Europe.
The European Union is coming out of the financial crisis, which has exacerbated societal challenges in many countries. Every day in Europe, social enterprises are answering these challenges – running their businesses sustainably to help create a better world and a better economy. They are trail-blazers working towards an inclusive and circular economy – and a more cohesive society. The issue we are facing today is to ensure they keep emerging and growing.
With the establishment of the Social Business Initiative (SBI), the EU expressed the economic and social value it sees in these entrepreneurs. To take stock of the SBI from 2011 to date, we see that it has been of great importance for the development of the social enterprise as a new type of business and a growing sector encouraging the various member states. However, the direction of the SBI today seems unclear and is not as yet anchored in the agenda of the Juncker Commission.
With this memo we want to make a clear statement to the renewed GECES and to the EU institutions from ‘the field’. Our organisations work with social entrepreneurs every day – and with a range of stakeholders to support the flourishing of social entrepreneurship. The eight priorities we believe should be followed to advance social entrepreneurship in Europe are:
- Keep a broad scope;
- Encourage a variety of governance and business models;
- Support further development of legal frameworks and mutual European understanding;
- Provide guidelines for and monitor implementation of the public procurement directive;
- Invest in impact measurement;
- Continue with access to finance initiatives;
- Advance the social enterprise research agenda;
- Monitor and promote the use of European Structural & Investment Funds for the development of social enterprises.
Please read our full Open Memo to the EU Social Business Expert Group, outlining the priorities and specific initiatives in detail.