In Spotting Trends


This fiche is part of the study “Social enterprises and their ecosystems in Europe” and it provides an overview of the social enterprise landscape in Iceland based on available information as of May 2018.


Intermediary Org: European Commission

Year: 2016


Although the terms social enterprise, social innovation and social entrepreneur are relatively unknown in Iceland, the country has a long history of social enterprises fitting the European operational definition. As elsewhere in Europe, freedom of association in the 19th century, urbanisation and a growing middle class formed the foundation for new associations, social movements and cooperatives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Initiatives taken by social movements and labour unions in Iceland in the early 20th century paved the way for the present welfare state. Non-profit organisations (NPOs) played a leading role both in establishing and providing welfare services—with or without limited government support.