The evolution and situation of social enterprises in Spain are inevitably linked to the wider framework of the social economy.
Although other marginal roots also exist in relation to advocacy associations, social innovation approaches and the contribution of social entrepreneurs, Spain has a long tradition of social economy organisations involved in income–generating activities for social rather than commercial purposes. In fact, the term ‘social economy’ is more recognised by practitioners and society than ‘social enterprise’, although an intense debate is emerging.
Currently, there is a dialogue in Spain between two ways of understanding social enterprises and how they stand between the traditional forms of social economy and new business models that balance economic and social aims. One position understands social enterprise as part of the social economy, while the second considers social enterprise as a new field. A recent evolution in the conception of social enterprises fits between these two positions, reaching a common point whereby the concept of social enterprise could be integrated into the social economy framework as the result of the expansion of its borders. Such a perspective is in line with the resolution of the Spanish Parliament, which understood…