Key facts


Current population of Poland –

Data supplied by the World Bank


Current GDP of Poland –
679,444.83 ($ millions)

Data supplied by the World Bank

World Happiness Index

Poland currently ranks  6.123 out of 10.

Since 2002, the World Happiness Report has used statistical analysis to determine the world’s happiest countries. To determine the world’s happiest country, researchers analysed comprehensive Gallup polling data from 149 countries for the past three years, specifically monitoring performance in six particular categories: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make your own life choices, generosity of the general population, and perceptions of internal and external corruption levels.

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Social Enterprise Data

(Source: ESEM)

Country Fact sheet: Poland

Read The European Social Enterprise Monitor Report, 2021 – 2022

Country factsheet: ESEM SEs in Poland

(Source: ESEM)

Perceived Political Support Grade

  • 67.8% perceive national political support for social entrepreneurship to be low, very low or non-existent

Top 3 Business Sectors (UN ISIC)

  • Accommodation and food service activities (28.1%)
  • Human health and social work activities (21.9%)
  • Education (21.9%)

Company Size (OECD)

  • Micro enterprises 61.5%
  • Small enterprises 33.3%
  • Medium enterprises 4.2%
  • Large enterprises 1.0%

Top 3 UN SDGs

#8 – Decent work and economic growth (55.2%)
#3 – Good health and wellbeing (44.8%)
#10 – Reduced inequalities (38.5%)

Impact Management & Measurement

  • 38.5% currently measure their social/environmental impact; 27.1% plan to do so
  • 23.9% refer to the UN SDGs in impact reporting; 31.3% plan to do so

Top 3 Beneficiaries (Persons)

  • Individuals with a physical disability (37.5%)
  • Long-term unemployed (32.3%)
  • Individuals with mental illness/health problems/psychological/neurological disabilities (28.1%)

Top 3 Sources of External Financing

  • Public financing (66.7%)
  • Bank loan (24.0%)
  • Private donations (15.6%)

Funding Gap

On average, Polish ESEM SEs only managed to secure enough funding to meet 59.4% out of 100% of their financing needs in the past 12 months. Gap = 40.6%.

Top 3 Key Barriers

  • Poor understanding/awareness of social enterprises among the general public and customers (55.2%)
  • Poor understanding/awareness of social enterprises among banks, investors and support organisations (51.0%)
  • Lack of supportive fiscal framework (50.0%)

Key Stakeholders & Members

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Other Stakeholders


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Universities/Research Centres

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Key Policies

Key Legal and Policy Framework Overview


In Poland, SEs mainly take the forms of (i) social cooperatives, (ii) entrepreneurial non-profit organisations (ENPOs), (iii) professional activity establishments (ZAZs), and (iv) non-profit companies. Each of these is regulated by its specific legislation (see below).

More general legislation on Social Enterprises is on the waythe first two proposals are alternatives: at the moment the KPRES is taken to be the fundamental document for policy schemes because the Act is still only a draft.

National Programme for Social Economy Development (KPRES) 2014-2018 (extended to 2018-2023)

KPRES 2018-2023 is the most significant source regulating social enterprises in Poland and it envisages the introduction of a social enterprise status. Under KPRES 2014-2018 the adoption of a comprehensive Act on Social Enterprise and Support of the Social Economy was expected but failed to pass. Passing this act is a priority for the KPRES 2018-2023 as well.

Draft Act on Social and Solidarity Economy (2017)

Launched in 2017, this law would regulate all specific issues linked to social enterprise. It defines a SE as an entity that performs economic activities, including paid statutory activity and/or market activity, and which satisfies some criteria – regardless of its legal form. The most important criteria are:
  1. It must provide services of either social and professional integration of groups threatened by social exclusion or in the field of local development, as its basic fields of activity;
  2. Profit distribution constraint – reinvest at least 30% of profit in social and professional (re)integration or activities aiming at public benefit;
  3. Have a democratic governance.

The SE label would be assigned by the local governments. It is important to point out that a SE label has been introduced de facto but not de jure

Act of 2003 on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work

ARTICLE 8 established the category of paid mission-related activity – i.e., operations considered to be public, for which remuneration has to be paid, which are part of the goals pursued by a non-profit. Income generated by these activities shall be put towards the pursue of public interests. 
Paid mission-related activities can be seen as business activity if: (i) the remuneration of sales exceeds that from the costs of businesses; (ii) remuneration of employed individuals exceeds three times the average monthly remuneration in the enterprise sector.
ARTICLE 3: Donations to non-profits can be excluded from income before it is taxed. However, according to the Law on income tax from natural (and legal) persons, the donation shall not exeed 6% of income of natural persons or 10% of legal persons.
ARTICLE 24 and 27: Some organisations can apply fo the Public Benefit status. They do not have to pay corporate income tax; property tax; tax on civil law transactions; stamp duty; court fees in relation to public benefit work performed by such organisation. Moreover, they can receive funds which are donated from “a 1 % scheme”
These three laws – on Association, on Foundation and on Public Benefit and Volunteering – create the basic framework in which Entrepreneurial Non-Profit Organisation carry out economic activities. 

Act of 2003 on Social Employment

This law firstly recognised Social Cooperatives and it introduced professional activation in labour cooperatives of people threatened by social exclusion. Social Coops benefit from exemptions from paying social security for 12 months. 

This act also enables for supported employment – i.e., a form of employment addressing people who have difficulties getting into the labour market. It incentivises companies to hire them through a system of benefits in the form of reimbursement of part of their salaries (financed by the Labour Fund). 

Act of 2004 on Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institution

  • Amended the Cooperative Law Act of 1982.
  • Up untill here – together with the June 2003 Act on Social employment – social cooperaives were seen as relating to work integration only (i.e., only understood in the context of WISEs)

Act of 2006 on Social Cooperatives

  • This law regulated social cooperatives treating them as a separate legal entity. 
    Article 12 of this act provides for employment costs support – in the form of contributions to retirement, health and disability pension and accident insurances – financed by public institutions. The county local government covers all these costs during the first 25 months and half for the following 12 months using funds from the Labour Fund.

Act of 1989 on Association

Article 34 enables association to engage in economic activity (in the ways explained by the 2004 Act on the Freedom of Economic Activity). Nevertheless, profits gained shall not be distributed to members, and shall go to the aim of achieving the association’s statutory goals. 

Law of 1992 on Income Tax from Legal Persons

This legislations grants tax exemption to social cooperatives, ENPOs and organisations managing ZAZs.
  • Social Cooperatives: Exemption if income is spent towards the social/work integration of its members.
  • Entrepreneurial non-profit organisations: Exemption if income devoted to statutory goals – and which ought to be connected to specific activities. Nevertheless, if their income comes from the selling of electronic equipment, fuels, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, and precious metals, they cannot get these exemptions.

Act of 27 August 1997

ARTICLE 31: ZAZs are exempted from all taxes excluding: gambling tax, value added tax, duty tax, excise duty, income tax and means of transportation tax. They are partially exempted from real estate tax, agricultural tax, forestry tax and civil law activity tax. 90% of the money saved from these exemptions and reductions must go to a company’s fund for the rehabilitation of disabled people. The remaining 10% shall go into the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons.

Financing and Support Measures

  1.  Exemption from VAT for non-profits performing general interest activities in culture, art and national heritage protection.
  2. Tax Exemptions provided by the last two laws summarised.

Key policy documents

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Funding Partners

Relevant Research Experts

Barbara Pawełek

Professor Barbara Pawełek Poland Universities & Institutions Cracow University of Economics Areas of Interest Strategic management Bankrupcy Biography coming soon ... See all work by this Author

Marek Ćwiklicki

PhD Marek Ćwiklicki Poland Universities & Institutions Cracow University of Economics Areas of Interest Circular Economy and Sustainable Development Social Entrepreneurship Public Management Quality Management University-business Cooperation Research Methodology Marek Ćwiklicki is Professor at the Cracow University of Economics. Head of the Department of Public Management in the College of Economics and Public Administration. [...]

Agnieszka Żur

Assistant Professor Director of Executive MBA Program Agnieszka Żur Poland Universities & Institutions Cracow University of Economics Areas of Interest Social entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship education Co-Innovation Dr Zur currently works at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Cracow University of Economics. Her main research area is social enterprises; (i) blending social and market logics and [...]

Marzena Starnawska

Dr. Marzena Starnawska Poland Universities & Institutions University of Warsaw, Poland Areas of Interest Entrepreneurship Social enterprise Governance Innovation Networks Social capital Dr. Marzena Stanawska works at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Previously she worked at the Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdańsk University of Technology, Poland. Her research, teaching and consulting activities focus [...]


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