In Annual Consultation, Members, NEWS

Throughout Europe and neighbouring countries, social enterprises (SEs) are created in significantly different manners, assuming different legal forms. Representing their national ecosystems, EN members are social enterprise support organisations or SESOs, which support all different forms of SEs, ranging from civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to for-profit businesses that make a social impact.

EN is proud to connect these organisations and represent them at the European level.

The complete membership of Euclid Network encompasses 46 SESOs, headquartered in 26 countries, of which 20 are EU countries, and operating in a total of 61 countries. Understanding the organisational profile, staff characteristics and governance structures of our members is crucial to determine how the Network can best support them in scaling their impact.

Just like SEs, SESOs can take different legal forms, but work together towards empowering the regional and national social impact ecosystem. It’s with great pleasure that a wide range of SESOs make-up the Euclid Network community.

The wealth of this Network and our collective power to drive positive change lies in the wide reach of our members’ activities, within Europe and beyond.

Like in any organisation, workforce and leadership is key for SESOs. For organisations operating in the Social Economy, it is essential to consider aspects such as paid staff and volunteers workforce, staff growth projections, diversity and inclusion, gender balance and governance structures to understand the values and principles that drive the organisation forward. 


Below are some of the outcomes of the 2022-23 survey: 

Staff sizes vary across organisations. The 2022-2023 report indicates that most responding organisations have teams between 1-9 people. 56% of respondents have 1-4 part-time employees. 30% have 5-9 full-time employees. 

While this study is intended to understand the overall staff size and workforce of different social enterprise support organisations, this number cannot be interpreted by itself. There are several other factors to be considered, such as organisational focus, geographical reach, type of support or activities and funding schemes. We’ll address these aspects in the future deep-dives.

Volunteers are an essential part of the workforce of SESOs. Volunteers support SESOs most often on a part-time basis as seen in the first graph. According to the 2022-23 report, volunteers account, on average, for 16% of the total workforce of SESOs. 

Euclid Network also sought to find out what SESOs thought of their future workforce. While 41% indicated their workforce was likely to remain the same, over ⅓ (35%) of respondents indicated a foreseen growth in company capacity. This may be explained by the start of new projects, the development of new products and services and established partnerships with other organisations.  We’ll take a closer look into scaling activities in the next deep-dive.

Staff at SESOs are overall young. 79% of staff are under 45 years old, and 44% fall between the 24-35 age range. 

Gender and leadership are two topics Euclid Network has been following since the beginning of the Annual Membership Consultation surveys. Throughout the years, EN has observed that SESOs have improved the gender balance in leadership positions within their organisations.

Among respondents of the 2022-23 survey, 59% of organisational leaders are indicated to be female. Women also represent a significant parcel of founding teams, current management teams, general workforce and board members.

For the first time in the 2022-2023 survey, Euclid Network sought to find out more about SESOs diversity within their workforce. Respondents were asked if they employed staff with varying disabilities, varying ethnic backgrounds and varying religious backgrounds.

While some of the statements were not applicable to all members, 59% of respondents employ staff with varying religious backgrounds and 59% employ staff with varying ethnic backgrounds. 29% of respondents employ staff with varying disabilities. Roughly 1 fifth of the respondents (21%) do not yet employ staff with disabilities but plan to do so in the near future.

Respondents were not offered examples of disabilities, or briefed on different degrees or levels of disabilities. As these answers also relied upon respondents’ knowledge of the existence of disabilities among their staff, including those disabilities which might not be visible or publicised, this number may potentially be an underrepresentation of the true level of inclusion for people with disabilities at these organisations.

Euclid Network believes that social enterprises have enormous potential to create change at scale if they are able to grow both their impact and operations in a sustainable manner.

EN’s membership is diverse, and continues to diversify as the Network expands eastwards. There is no ‘one type’ of social enterprise support organisation, though there are similarities across all of them. 50% of respondents identified themselves as national networks. Like other industrial sectors, the social enterprise support sector benefits from a mix of staff and volunteer workforce. 82% of respondent SESOs have full-time employees and 74% have part-time or project-specific paid staff. 6% of respondents operate solely on a volunteer basis. Staff is overall young within these organisations, 79% falling below 45 years old. 53% of respondents count on a volunteer workforce. There is a general sense of growth in staff capacity, as a result of organisational scaling, growth in funding and diversification of activities.

This is the first of many deeper looks into the State of the Industry 2022-2023 Report. 

Stay tuned for the next deep-dives!

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