Social Entrepreneurship Network
The Social Entrepreneurship Network (SEN) project seeks to build the capacity of the actors who form part of the ESF system to achieve the objectives of the ESF and of the Europe 2020 strategy. More specifically it seeks to equip them to promote and implement projects involving social entrepreneurship, social enterprises and the social economy. The website of the project is under construction and will be published soon.
Support for social enterprises and the social economy is identified as an investment priority for the Structural Funds in the 2014-20 period. Social enterprises create jobs and economic activity, in a socially inclusive manner, and provide high-quality social welfare services. They are an effective tool for the work integration of disadvantaged groups at risk of social exclusion.
The partners comprise ESF Managing Authorities and intermediate bodies from nine EU Member States and regions (PL, UK – England and Scotland, IT – Trentino and Lombardy, BE Flanders, CZ, GR, CY, SE and FI), together with representative or service organisations from the social economy.
The work programme starts with a phase of methodology development and training together with the identification and selection of good practices. This is followed by a series of five cycles of peer reviews, with meetings held in different participating Member States, covering respectively the domains of governance and policy co-ordination, outreach and accessibility, start-up support, finance, and consolidation & growth. The results will be summarised and presented on paper, as a clickable online matrix and at a dissemination conference in Brussels, where they can be accessed by all Structural Fund bodies and by others.
Results and impact
The results will comprise: (1) detailed recommendations on how to use the Structural Funds to ensure a comprehensive support environment for social enterprises, targeted primarily at ESF MAs but also at policy-makers responsible for the social economy; supported by (2) a matrix of good practice examples spread across Member States, showing how different aspects of a comprehensive support environment for social enterprises can be implemented under various economic, social and institutional circumstances. Examples might include stakeholder involvement, co-planning tools, outreach to disadvantaged communities, the bridge from welfare dependence, training and coaching, microfinance, public procurement, measuring social added value and social franchising.
The combination of the examination of good practice, the formulation of recommendations for a comprehensive support environment and the partnership-building process will enable ESF Managing Authorities to develop more effective operational programmes and will enable social economy organisations to make a larger contribution to the realisation of their objectives.