This compendium derives policy lessons for boosting social enterprises from the analysis of 20 initiatives in several EU member-countries, covering a range of policy areas from legal frameworks, finance, market access, and support structures, to education and skills.

Social enterprises can only meet their full potential if an enabling environment is in place to allow them to start-up, scale-up and flourish. This is why the OECD and the European Commission have a longstanding co-operation to improve the ecosystems for social enterprises. This joint work supports European Union Member States in their efforts to create favourable conditions for social enterprises, while also providing learnings for the broader OECD area.

As countries have different traditions and aspirations, there are many different policies, programmes and initiatives from which others can learn. The challenge, however, is making this pool of experience accessible for those looking for inspiration and guidance.

This joint publication of the OECD and the European Commission takes up this challenge, making use of the strengths of both institutions. It benefits from the analytical capacity and expertise of the OECD, which has built evidence on social enterprise policies over the past two decades. It draws from the political processes as well as funding programmes of the EU, which have worked as a catalyst to boost social enterprise related policies and initiatives in Europe.

The Compendium presents a rich collection of initiatives aimed at boosting social enterprise developments. It identifies key lessons, providing concrete pointers for policy makers – from how to raise awareness and visibility of what social enterprises are and the value they provide, to how to unlock and attract funding better suited to their specific needs. It also warns against piecemeal approaches, stressing that a coherent and inter-connected ecosystem is more valuable than just the sum of its parts. We hope that it will be a source of inspiration and a useful tool for policy makers across Europe and beyond.

© OECD/European Union (2017), Boosting Social Enterprise Development: Good Practice Compendium, OECD Publishing, Paris,



This publication has been prepared within INDIGISE project. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.