7 May 2021, The Hague – Euclid Network (EN) is proud to present its Position Paper on the European Action Plan for Social Economy. Submitted on April 23, our feedback to the European Commission (EC) underlines the crucial role of social enterprises (SEs), their main obstacles and needs. This Position Paper is a result of a collaboration of all EN members and it provides concrete actions in order to support SEs and promote them as key drivers to #buildbackbetter.
SEs are businesses that are changing the world for the better. Like traditional business, they play an important role in job creation and labour market integration, but their main objective is to create inclusive and sustainable growth and positive change. They operate in a large variety of economic sectors and ecosystems. SEs tackle societal problems, improve people’s life chances, provide training and employment opportunities for those furthest from the market, support communities and create solutions for the climate crisis.
SEs have for a long time illustrated their importance for our economy and society, even more so during the pandemic. Through cooperating with and complementing the actions of public authorities, SEs have not only contributed to alleviating the impact of this crisis, but they have also provided a wide range of social services, especially for the most vulnerable in society.
SEs, however, are not immune to the Covid-19 pandemic as they must also address challenges such as: the total or partial inability to trade for periods of time activities; the increased competition for scarce funding resources and the unforeseen challenges in adapting their business models to the new reality. These challenges compound the pre-existing issues of a lack of visibility of and recognition by governments of SEs, posing further challenges when effectively seeking to influence decision-making.
For almost 15 years, EN has fostered social entrepreneurship and social innovation in Europe through knowledge exchange, capacity building, networking and international advocacy. EN’s members are are active in over 45 countries, empowering social enterprises to drive positive change.
Based on the collective experience of EN members, we recommend the following priority areas for the EC’s upcoming Social Economy Action Plan:
- Improve visibility of SEs.
- Improve access to finance for SEs.
- Improve access to markets for SEs.
- Foster social entrepreneurship through education, training and business support.
- Promote SE as the global business standard.
For further clarification and other questions, please get in touch with Veerle Klijn!