The project “Social entrepreneurship development in Baltic Sea region” has been granted within Erasmus+ programme and started its realization in September 2014.
EUROPE 2020 states that growth has to be delivered through strong emphasis on job creation and poverty reduction. Social entrepreneurship (SE) is exactly new method to be used to overcome existing challenges as its main aim is to bring positive impact to society.
In the “Social economy and social entrepreneurship Social Europe Guide Volume 4 (2013)” it is said that several key challenges of Social economy (build be SE) are found and those are:
lack of visibility;
lack of specialised training;
lack of support network and infrastructure;
access to finance;
lack of uniform regulation.
Seven SE support organisations across the Baltic Sea developed idea to have a better educational and overall support for SE in Baltic Sea region.
Facilitate SE sector development in Baltic Sea region through proper adults education;
Educate public bodies, municipalities, NGO’s and other players about relevant tools of SE support at national and regional level;
Research SE and share research findings, incorporate those in the legislative, education and other support methods and tools;
Start and promote open educational tool as a network and startup tool to start national and cross border SE activities;
Create stable SE support organizations network and SE network.
What is Social Entrepreneurship?
Social enterprise sector used to resemble “a black box” in most of the European countries only some years ago. After discovering and understanding its potential to create positive societal change in a financially sustainable way, the researchers and analysts have started to pay attention.
The concept of social enterprises has grown up in Europe from 19th-century roots in the social economy, which is usually defined as the legal forms of co-operatives, mutuals, associations and foundations. In the last 20 years a new strand of social enterprise has grown in stature, based on more conventionally-structured businesses which go beyond corporate social responsibility by entrenching in a company’s constitution three principles:
a primary social objective – the purpose of the business is to address social or environmental problems, and it trades in the market to do this
limited distribution of profits – profits are primarily used to further the enterprise’s social objective, and are reinvested rather than being paid out to financial investors
transparent and participative governance, including involvement of key stakeholders such as users and workers.
These three principles have been adopted by the EU’s Social Business Initiative. A large part of the social enterprise sector identifies as the social economy, which comprises enterprises which have fully democratic ownership and employ capital to serve the needs of members and the community.
Social enterprises employ some 14.5 million people, 6.5% of the workforce.1 They are active in all parts of the economy, from farming and housing to manufacturing, banking and advanced services. They make a major contribution to providing social services for vulnerable people and to providing jobs for long-term unemployed, disabled and excluded people, thus aiding their inclusion in society. They play a major role in the development of communities and local economies.