Key facts


Current population of Spain –

Data supplied by the World Bank


Current GDP of Spain –
1,427,380.68 ($ millions)

Data supplied by the World Bank

World Happiness Index

Spain currently ranks 6.476 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)


Spanish Social Enterprise Monitor

Country Fact sheet: Spain

Read The European Social Enterprise Monitor Report, 2021 – 2022

The European Commission is proud to support this year’s European Social Enterprise Monitor (ESEM), the second edition covering the period 2021- 2022. This report builds on the seminal work of the first ESEM 2020-2021 and has impressively scaled from eight to 21 countries in just one year across the EU and the wider European neighbourhood. It provides key data and insights for policy-makers, investors, support organisations, academia and social entrepreneurs themselves.

Country factsheet: ESEM SEs in Spain

(Source: ESEM)

Perceived Political Support Grade

  • 65.1% perceive national political support for social entrepreneurship to be low, very low or non-existent

Top 3 Business Sectors (UN ISIC)

  • Human health and social work activities (32.5%)
  • Education (18.8%)
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities (16.3%)

Company Size (OECD)

  • Micro enterprises 52.5%
  • Small enterprises 21.3%
  • Medium enterprises 11.3%
  • Large enterprises 13.8%

Top 3 UN SDGs

#10 – Reduced inequalities (65.0%)
#8 – Decent work and economic growth (58.8%)
#5 – Gender equality (53.8%)

Impact Management & Measurement

  • 61.1% currently measure their social/environmental impact; 23.8% plan to do so
  • 61.3% refer to the UN SDGs in impact reporting; 16.3% plan to do so

Top 3 Beneficiaries (Persons)

  • Women/girls (22.5%)
  • Individuals with mental illness/health problems/psychological/neurological disabilities (22.5%)
  • Long-term unemployed (22.5%)

Top 3 Sources of External Financing

  • Public financing (50.0%)
  • Private donations (30.0%)
  • Bank loan (28.8%)

Funding Gap

On average, Spanish ESEM SEs only managed to secure enough funding to meet 59.0% out of 100% of their financing needs in the past 12 months. Gap = 41.0%.

Top 3 Key Barriers

  • Poor understanding/awareness of social enterprises among the general public and customers (51.3%)
  • A weak lobby for social entrepreneurship (50.0%)
  • Too complex public financing (47.5%)

Read full Spain factsheet

Key Stakeholders & Members

EN Members

Fundación Acción, Bienestar y Desarrollo (ABD)

Type of organisation: Non-profit organisation

ABD is a Barcelona-based NGO working for over 40 years supporting different population groups, providing social services and empowering individual and collective development. Driven by the principles of fairness and equality, ABD works towards a socially inclusive society eradicating inequalities and providing equal opportunities. ABD’s focus areas include:

  • Drugs and Health
  • Inequalities
  • Childhood and family
  • Dependency and elderly population
  • Intellectual disability
  • Gender equality

Other Stakeholders


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Universities/Research Centres

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Key Policies

Key Legal and Policy Framework Overview

Law 9/2017 on Public Sector Contracts

This law indicates that access to public procurement will be facilitated for social economy enterprises. It envisages the obligation to reserve complete contracts or lots  within public contracts to IEs or CEEs (see below) in a level established by the respective national, regional and local authorities. It obliges public authorities to use a plurality of award criteria, i.e. incorporate qualitative aspects in the object of the public contract, through the inclusion of social and environmental clauses, which allow the best quality-price in public contracting. The law also establishes the possibility to request social (or environmental) labels (e.g., the qualification as “socialenterprise”) to providers. This law does not specifically aim at SEs. Nevertheless, due to their intrinsic characteristics, SEs fit more naturally than other SMEs. 

Law 5/2011 on Social Economy

Law used as framework for the social enterprises (this follows from a parliamentary resolution). 
Due to the flexibility of the general law on social economy, even if SEs are not recognised by any specific law, they can be included in this more general one.
  • The law groups together (for identification and promotional purposes) legal entities – such as cooperatives, mutual insurance organisations, WISEs and associations and foundations engaged in economic activities – that existed previously (article 1). 
  • However, it does not create any new legal form, and it includes legal entities which, traditionally, have not been part of the social economy sector in Spain – given that their economic activity is based on principles presented in art. 4 (articles 5)
  • Article 4: Stipulates that all entities included in this sector should follow values based on certain principles. Most important: (i) supremacy of the person/social goal over capital, (ii) distribution of profits not according to capital provision (iii) devotion to social sectors (iv) independence from public power.
  • In associations and foundations, profits gained trough the economic activity have to be used in line with their statuatory purposes

Law 44/2007 (expanded by Law 31/2015) on EIs

Deals with “employment integration enterprises” – Empresas de inserción or EI. These aim at the employment integration of people referred by the Social Services (e.g. people in rehabilitation or long-term unemployed). EIs can obtain reductions in social security contributions for workers at risk of exclusion (also thanks to the help of law 4/2013), subsidies for economic compensation of the labour costs, subsidies for investment focusing on their social goals, as well as other regional reductions and subsidies.

Law 49/2002

This law deals with the fiscal Regime for NPOs and the fiscal incentives for fundraising.  It also promotes donations to these entities with tax exemptions for the donors. Incentives include exemptions from annual business tax and other taxes and apply to non-profits (most often associations, foundations and Cooperatives). It is important to notice that local authorities can also create tax benefits for NPOs.

Law 27/1999 on Cooperatives

In Spain, at the national level, cooperatives are the legal form with the largest tradition and recognition within the social economy. Among other cooperatives types, this law recognised the Cooperativas de iniciativa social (CIS) – or social initiative cooperatives. CIS are defined as those cooperatives that, being non-profit and independent, mainly engage in the provision of welfareservices in activities of social nature (e.g. health, education), or in the development of economic activity with the aim of employing people suffering from any kind of social exclusion and, in general, satisfy social needs not met by the market(Article 106). It is important to notice that Spanish regions can develop their own framework for cooperatives which may expand or adjust the focus of the national law. Regions may use a different terminology to refer to CIS. 

Law 20/1990 on the fiscal regime of cooperatives

The law provides tax breaks, reduced social security contributions and similar measures. These benefits have a substantial impact on foundations, associations and CISs. Cooperatives have lower tax rates than conventional companies and, together with worker-owned companies (sociedadeslaborales), enjoy other types of fiscal benefits, such as exemptions on certain taxes and accelerated depreciation. Some specific measures are: (i) CISs can obtain a reduction in the general tax for businesses under some specific conditions related to the demonstration of the general interest of their economic activities; (ii) profits are either exempted from taxes (if the coop is a non-profit), or, otherwise, only 10% of revenue is taxed; (iii) CISs enjoy a reduction of 95% on the Economic Activities Tax.

Law 13/1982 on CEEs

Established the “Special employment centres for social initiative” – Centros especiales de empleo or CEE (non-profits,as defined by law 9/2017) – which seek to integrate the highest possible number of people with disabilities into the labour market (at least 70% of CEE staff must be workers with disabilities). CEEs enjoy direct subsidies as well as a reduction in the annual business tax for each new worker hired. Moreover, there can be exemptions on annual business tax and the tax of consumption as a result of the non-profit mission (these follow from law 49/2002).

Financing and support measures

  1. Strategy for Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment
  • Not directly targeting SEs. Benefits mostly take the form of reductions in social security contributions aimed at incentivising hiring young people and promoting entrepreneurship
  1. Measures and tax breaks under law 20/1990 on the fiscal regime of cooperatives
  1. Enterprises established in rural areas may benefit from different measures for the promotion of business creation and consolidation. Most of these are based on the European structural funds, mainly through the European Social Funds (ESF) and the European Fund of Regional Development (FEDER in Spanish), which are complemented by several programmes run by the regional governments.
  1. The Ministry of Employment and Social Security enacts different public policies promoting employment and competitiveness of cooperatives. Some examples are grants for incorporating partners to cooperatives or worker-owned companies, grants for investments in fixed assets, and even grants for training and technical assistance. These may take the form of microcredits, direct governmental grants, discounts on interest rates and many others.
  1. It is worth to point out that there are a number of private programmes promoting social enterprises and social entrepreneurship such as Oinarri (SGR), Creas Foundation, ISIS Capital and many other.
  1. Finally, there are also two main public providers
    • ICO Foundation, Social Finance – state-owned NPO which facilitates access to microcredit and support knowledge creation in the microfinance sector.
    • ENISA, Innovation National Enterprise – public enterprise funded by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, ENISA is dedicated to financing viable and innovative projects by offering loans without guarantees

Key policy documents

Funding Partners

Relevant Resources

Relevant Research Experts

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Andrea Pérez

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PhD Carlos Lopez-Gutierrez Spain Universities & Institutions Universidad de Cantabria Areas of Interest Corporate finance Banking and finance International finance Social entrepreneurship  Corporate social responsibility Bankrupcy Carlos Lopez-Gutierrez is an Associate Professor at the Universidad de Cantabria. He teaches international finance, derivatives and financial markets, and financial management. His main research lines are corporate [...]

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Rossella Canestrino

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Cristina San Salvador

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