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At the beginning of this paper it should be emphasized that a common definition of social enterprise in Poland has not, to date, been established. Moreover, despite the gradual development of social enterprises and their growing legal recognition in Poland, no unanimity or agreed understanding of this notion has yet been reached.
The term “social enterprise” has recently been regarded in Poland as a particularly vague notion. Two major reasons account for this situation. First,“social enterprise” is a relatively new term in Poland. The term has been explicitly used by academics, government officials, professionals, and third sector organisations only in the years following Poland’s integration into the European Union in 2004. The term was introduced in tandem with the discussions concerning the nature of social enterprise that have been taking place in Western Europe. Therefore, part of the ambiguity of the term was introduced from outside. Another reason is the link with the long history of social enterprises in Poland. Long before the introduction of the term, there were a considerable number of organisations possessing features of social enterprise in Poland, and there is no settled agreement as to which of those organisations should be called social enterprises.