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Welcome to 2023! We already have a packed agenda for the year ahead but wanted to take a moment to have a look back at everything that was achieved in 2022 before we launch into the New Year.

The 2022 EN Year started with the launch of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise. The idea being to boost the visibility of women leaders in the sector, and to inspire others. Through this initiative we managed to identify 100 of the most inspiring women change makers and publicly celebrate their successes. This initiative was so successful that we plan to do it again and calls are now open for anyone wishing to apply for 2023. Click here for more information.

In February, Buy Social Europe launched, led by Social Enterprise UK, strategically supported by Euclid Network and the Social Enterprise World Forum, in cooperation with SAP, Zurich Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, Astrazeneca and CBRE, and EN members SEND Germany, Social Entrepreneurship Network Switzerland (SENS), Social Enterprise Republic Ireland (SERI) and Social Enterprise NL.

In March EN held the annual Impact Summit. Due to Covid restrictions, it was an online event held over 2 days. Despite the online necessity at the time, the event still felt welcoming and open with almost 200 online attendees and 26 speakers.

The spirit of a supportive network was maintained and knowledge sharing, and collaboration was carried out proving that despite all odds, the EN network is resilient.

May saw EN’s strategic partnership with ImpactCity The Hague being officialised. Impact City’s main mission is to help innovative impact entrepreneurs who work on innovations for a better world. They do this by building an impact ecosystem that facilitates contribution to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Impact City have been friends with EN since 2017. The strategic partnership was decided upon to advance the collaboration between the two organisations.

The agreement with ImpactCity was announced in parallel to The Municipality of The Hague, the province of Antwerp, Region of Hannover, Social Enterprise NL, city of Aalst and Efeler District collectively creating the R.R.E.S.I. (Resilient Regional Ecosystems for Social Impact) project for the European Commission. R.R.E.S.I. brought together experience and knowledge of how local and regional governments play crucial roles in creating a favorable ecosystem for social impact.
Moreover, RRESI enabled the establishment of interregional collaborations that have continued beyond the project. We look forward to seeing how this develops in 2023.

In May, the EN team and community participated in full force at the Social Economy, The Future of Europe event in Strasbourg. EN partners and members were speaking at 12 events including topics on; Being a woman in the social economy, Financing Brilliant Solutions – Funding for SE, Local governments, Scaling up Social Economy Solutions – boosting social entrepreneurship, Producing Social Economy Data & Statistics, boosting the visibility and understanding of the Social Economy – ESEM, New ways of participating in EU funds  and Transition Pathways –  Proximity & Social Economy.

It was a wonderful experience to finally get together with familiar faces post lockdown and to meet new acquaintances. Also to share knowledge and learn from peers in person once again.

May also saw 40+ participants of the MedUp! Project gathered in Hammamet, Tunisia, for a much-awaited in-person event. For the last  4 years, EN has organised a series of in-person and online activities with the aim of promoting social entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean region.

Together with partners from Oxfam Tunisia, EN organised a 3-day event to not only reflect and recognize achievements but also create the next steps for social entrepreneurship and innovation in the Mediterranean region.

In June, EN participated in the 10-year anniversary event of EN member and partner Yunus Social Business. EN was mentioned during the hybrid event as an important partner in driving the future of the global Buy Social and Social Procurement movement. Both parties agreed to continue their cooperation on this topic in future.

In June EN attended the ‘kick-off’ meeting in Patras Greece for the Open Business for Community Development (OBCD) project. Based on the necessity of combining economic growth and social innovation, the project aims to create more inclusive, creative and sustainable societies and economies. The project investigates how open business approaches applied to social entrepreneurship (SE) can contribute to local development. This concept leads to new challenges for education and training since it highlights emerging occupations as well as new knowledge, competences and skills, for the development of the so-called SEs. The project lasts for 3 years and more information about it and how you can get involved can be found here.

June also saw the launch of the OECD’s manual on Designing Legal Frameworks for Social Enterprises of which EN’s CEO Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes was part of the Advisory Board and EN’s board member Stephan Panhuijsen and EN’s Policy Lead Toby Gazeley participated in the launch event of this momentous report. The Eurostat report Empowering society through the reuse of privately held data for official statistics to which EN contributed as part of the European Commission Expert Group on … was launched that same month.

Furthermore, the Grow Track of the Social Tides initiative was launched. Coordinated by INCO and supported by Google.org and in partnership with EN at the European ecosystem level and Pulse, Movement Impact France, SEND Germany, Ashoka Spain, Act Impact, Shipyard and Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane at national ecosystem level. The Social Tides Initiative continues and more can be found here.

Also, to become available in June was the Toolkit on Digital Skills to support impact-driven organisations with going digital (EU3Digital).

The summer also made way for Driving Positive Change’ webinar series where EN peers, exchanged knowledge and shared expertise via a webinar on the value of peer exchanges supported by EN and the European Commission.

After the summer vacation the busy autumn season brought us many more online and in-person events. This included a session by EN and Google.org at the Social Enterprise World Forum on the Social Innovation Fund, Social Enterprise ecosystem development and European Social Enterprise Monitor, together with SEND Germany, Ashoka Spain and Act Impact Slovenia.

Furthermore, the Transition Pathway of the Proximity and Social Economy ecosystem was launched. In cooperation with: Diesis Network, Social Economy Europe, EN and, Euricse, the transition pathway aims to enable actors in the ecosystem to deliver on the twin transition while fostering a more sustainable and resilient economy in the EU. Participants at the launch event witnessed stakeholders making their pledges and commitments to co-implement the transition pathway.

November also hosted the EN Impact Days which created a three day in person and online platform to have presentations, meetings, the EN AGM, a Social Economy Policy Roundtable, supported by the European Commission and Google.org, including speakers and participants from the European Commission, private sector, social enterprise support networks across Europe, investors, government officials, and social enterprise leaders, Buy Social event.

Furthemore, the 2022 European Social Enterprise Monitor report was launched. Initiated in 2020, the aim of the European Social Enterprise Monitor (ESEM) is to close the current gap on social enterprise data to inform decision-makers in government, civil society and the economy. The European Commission continued to support this year’s ESEM, the second edition, covering the period 2021- 2022. Funders and partners were expanded to also include Google.org, SAP, ImpactCity, Bertelsmann Stiftung and the World Economic Forum Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs and Schwab Foundation. The 2nd report builds on the seminal work of the first ESEM and has impressively scaled from eight to 21 countries in just one year across the EU and the wider European neighbourhood. It provides key data and insights for policy-makers, investors, support organisations, academia and social entrepreneurs themselves and informs evidence-based policy-making, strategies and investments. Feel free to download your copy here.

The busy winter season continued with the launch of the Compendium of Good Policy Practices.
The Compendium represents the collective work of EN members who have highlighted several policies and practices from their countries that they believe could be replicated in other areas to support social enterprises and further enable them to make a positive impact. You can download the compendium here.

It’s clear 2022 was a busy year and there is more of that to come for 2023. Watch this space!

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