In EU Policy


Year: 2021
Published in: European Commission
Cited as: Haarich, S., Holstein, F., Spule, S., Galera, G., Franchini, B., Borzaga, C., Chiomento, S., Spiess-Knafl, W., Scheck, B.,
Salvatori, G. (2020). Impact of the European Commission’s Social Business Initiative (SBI) and its Follow-up Actions. Study
for DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission.


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In 2011, the European Commission presented the Social Business Initiative (SBI) which established an EU level action plan with concrete measures to establish a favourable environment for social enterprises (SE). This study analyses the impact of the SBI on the development of social enterprises/social economy and their operating environments at national and EU levels. 326 interviews at EU level and in 37 European countries were the main source of information. The results show that the SBI and its follow-up activities has had important effects on the regulatory and institutional operating environments of social enterprises/social economy. The SBI has primarily helped to increase the visibility, recognition and understanding of SE. It has contributed to facilitate the availability of information on SE, and to implement mutual learning, research, and visibility measures related to SE and social economy in EU programmes. The SBI and its follow-up activities have made it easier for SE to access public and private funding. Interviewed stakeholders highlight EU policies and EU funds as a key driver for strengthening social economy ecosystems. They consider that the general SBI objectives remain relevant and that needs still persist. The study includes an analysis of current needs and concludes with options for future policy initiatives.