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Social entrepreneurs are passionate about bringing innovative solutions and business models to the market with the main aim of driving positive social and environmental change. They are key actors for building a society and economy where people and the planet are at the centre.

It is known that no social enterprise operates in a vacuum. They flourish in ecosystems that build, develop and catalyse their impact. That is why Euclid Network (EN) is celebrating 15 years of empowering positive change by connecting and enhancing social entrepreneurs and their support organisations. As a Network, we champion their work and connect them to others on a European and global level. We raise visibility and understanding of social entrepreneurship and social innovation. We advocate for better fitting regulations, policies and funding, and make knowledge, resources and training available to social enterprises, support organisations and engaged stakeholders.

Learning from the past 15 years, we look to the future with these 5 messages in mind, to continue supporting the sector and driving positive change.

  • It’s a time to accelerate our impact
  • Let’s unleash our collective power
  • Breaking old patterns, building new bridges
  • Collaboration and sharing is key
  • Future-proofing our sector

“EN members are now emerging from the pandemic with new tools up their sleeves, stronger and with more potential than ever before.”

EN conducted a membership wide survey between November 2021 and March 2022 and these are some of the outcomes:

EN membership consists of different types of Social Enterprise Support Organisations (SESOs). The majority of EN members are national networks for social enterprises and civil society leaders. 74% of EN members are also membership organisations. This is partly indicative of the added-value of membership organisations.

Compared to last year’s results, we’ve observed an increase in EN members supporting local and regional governments. The trend remains that members continue to provide support at the organisational level, with government agencies gaining more participation in social enterprise support activities.

SESOs are most likely to offer support nationally (96%), complemented with a focus on the regional, provincial, city, or community level. Support to SEs beyond the national level can be seen as a secondary objective to smaller SESOs, though an important one, with 72% of EN members active at the European level. Moreover, multinational SESOs with offices and collaborators in different countries and larger networks, may find it easier to support across borders and beyond Europe.

In the 2020-2021 report, EN attempted for the first time to engage its members in in-depth impact measurement. This year, EN and its members continued to develop their understanding and practice of impact measurement across sectors. 70% of EN members measure their impact, most often through surveys and on a regular basis (yearly). Moreover, 44% of members indicated referring to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) upon reporting on their impact. Of the 27% which do not refer to the SDGs, indicated intentions to do so in the coming years.

This showcases the need for reliable impact measurement practices as an important tool to develop the sector, communicate the benefits of social investment as a viable alternative for the market, and effect change on the ground.

SESOs are often operating in challenging financial situations due to a number of challenges. Results from this year’s Annual Consultation indicate a positive outlook in the future across different regions.

Organisations providing support to social entrepreneurs still experience notable challenges and barriers to their development, of which the need to raise visibility, awareness and understanding by social finance providers and the general public were highlighted by EN members.

Everyday, social enterprises across Europe are bringing innovative solutions and business models to the market with the main aim of driving positive social and environmental change. Focusing on impact first, these enterprises require dedicated support, funding and representation. EN brings together the organisations (SESOs) working in Europe and beyond which provide exactly that.

This report therefore not only provides insights in the current state of social enterprise support organisations across Europe, but it is also an appeal to investors, foundations, philanthropists, governments and policy-makers to shift an increasing amount of financial resources, legislation, policies and support towards social enterprise support organisations and social enterprises, to build an economy which puts with people and the planet in the centre.

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