News from Euricse Network


Published on 21/05/2019by redazione

The future of social enterprises in Europe: Euricse and Emes present the Mapping Study in Brussels

Researchers from all over Europe met in Brussels on May 16th and 17th to discuss the present and future of social enterprises. Over the last two decades, organizations defined as social enterprises have become increasingly important, but their real size and role are still misunderstood in most EU countries. For this reason, the European Commission commissioned the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse) and the EMES International Research Network (EMES) to conduct the in-depth study “Social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe”. 

The report is a follow-up of the 2014 Mapping Study of 28 countries and its 2016 update to seven of them, which contributed to providing a first comparable picture of social enterprise dynamics across 28 EU countries and Switzerland. The refining of the methodology, as tested in 2016, improved the accuracy of the application of the Operational Definition to better capture recent developments in the field. An innovative “stakeholders engagement strategy” was utilized during the revision of the country reports to ensure that key input from national stakeholders was incorporated. Four categories of stakeholders were identified: academic, policymaker, practitioner and supporter. 

We have already posted an overview of the first reports and are now pleased to present an update with the most important results of the last fiches. 

Country report: Denmark. Authors: Lars Hulgård and Lisa Chodorkof. The origin of “social enterprise” in Denmark can be traced back both to the mid- to late-1800s with the farmers’ and workers’ cooperative movements and the emergence of voluntary associations and non-profit organizations a few decades later. In the modern age, the concept of social enterprise started to gain public attention and influence after 2000. Today, there isn’t a single database available to determine the exact number of social enterprises in Denmark; however, it can be estimated that, in the last year, approximately 411 Danish social enterprises would meet the EU operational definition. Among these, 251 are third-sector-based social enterprises, 96 are market-based social enterprises with a Registered Social Enterprise (RSV) status, and 64 are municipality-based social enterprises, also with an RSV status. In 2017, a total of 4,932 people were employed (both part-time and full-time) by social enterprises with an RSV status. For the future, many interviewed for this study said that social enterprise is a sector still in its developing phases and predicted a “slow and steady” growth, but they admitted also that there are various constraining factors to face, particularly due to the current lack of government support.

Country report: Czech  Republic. Author: Eva Fraňková. The historical roots of social enterprises in the Czech Republic extend back to the emergence of worker cooperatives, mutuals and associations in the mid-19th century. These organizations focused on financial, consumer and production mutual aid and self-help. Before World War II, more than 16,500 active cooperatives operated in Czechoslovakia. During the communist regime (1948-1989), some associations and cooperatives survived but lost their autonomy and democratic bottom-up structure. The concepts of social economy and social enterprise have slowly entered the public sphere only after 2000 and in particular after the entry of the Czech Republic into the EU in 2004. The total estimated number of potential social enterprises in 2018 is 3,800. According to the surveys, Czech social enterprises mostly function as small businesses with around 15 employees. For the future, consulted stakeholders perceive great potential in developing a national strategy for social enterprises. On the other hand, lack of a broader political support of social enterprises, high bureaucracy, excessively complicated legislation and administrative burdens can negatively impact the sector.

Country report: Slovenia. Authors: Tatjana Rakar, Zinka Kolarič. Although the concept of social enterprise is new in Slovenia, the country has a long tradition of civil society self-organization. The status of social enterprises was introduced in 2011, with the adoption of the Social Entrepreneurship Act, which provides a definition of social enterprise. The legal category of social enterprise captures only a small share of social enterprises in Slovenia. Among the ex lege social enterprises, private institutes, cooperatives and associations comprise the most common legal forms. Among de facto social enterprises, private institutes rank as the most numerous, followed by associations. The future development of social enterprises depends on the interpretation of their definition and role in society. Some stakeholders consider social enterprises primarily as enterprises while others aim to strengthen the role of non-profit associations and private institutes—currently the strongest drivers of social enterprise—in Slovenia. This implies a potentially divided future.

Country report: UK. Authors: Fergus Lyon, Bianca Stumbitz, Ian Vickers. The term “social enterprise” has been used in the UK since the 1970s and in the 1990s it has been boosted by the pioneering public policies. It is estimated that there are 30,800 social enterprises with 19,500 Company Limited by Guarantee/charities, 7,000 active Community Interest Companies and 4,300 cooperatives (Industrial and Provident Societies/Registered Societies) shown to have both social aims and trading activity. There is a diverse range of income sources: 60% serving the general public, 54% having government contracts (with 20% having this as their main or only source), 52% having income from private sector businesses, 50% having income from the third sector and 43% having sales to other social enterprises. Public support has become increasingly patchy across the UK, with the exception of Scotland where there continues to be a range of relatively well-funded programmes and networks. So, the most important future challenges relate to the nature of the economy and associated uncertainties.

Country report: Norway. Author: Lars U. Kobro. Membership-based voluntary organizations contributed significantly to the creation of public welfare from mid-18th century to World War I. During the post-World War II period, up until the early 1980s, the Norwegian Labour Party rose as the dominant driving force for a strong state responsibility for social issues. It was the origin of the term “welfare state”. From the late 1970s and early 1980s, the introduction and rapid spread of New Public Management (NPM) principles created deep roots in the public sector although it did not disrupt the state-dominant model. This situation is still present although today we are in front of a “fourth wave” of the welfare state where social enterprises and social entrepreneurship could play central roles. The very good conditions that have framed the Norwegian welfare model in the last decades, in fact, are about to shift. There is no specific legal act regulating social enterprises in Norway, but it is estimated there is a minimum of 295 social enterprises, the majority operating as limited companies and voluntary organizations. Many enterprises have the municipality or other local and regional public entities as their main client, mainly for the delivery of welfare services. As a perspective, social enterprise remains quite an immature political and economic field in Norway, but the interest is evolving from a stage of anonymity and very low awareness to a present stage with higher public attention. 

Country report: Netherlands. Author: Niels Bosma. The Netherlands provides a largely conducive ecosystem although it does not have a dedicated legal form for social enterprises. One of the implications of the absence of a legal form or dedicated national level policy is the very scarce availability of quantitative information about the size and scope of social enterprises. Currently most social enterprises focus their activities on work integration and circular economy, while companies addressing problems in global value chains are frontrunners in terms of growth and impact, and serve as role models for other social enterprises as well as mainstream companies. In this contest, the Dutch public procurement law provides opportunities to stimulate social enterprises, although it is not clear how and to what extent social enterprises can take a role in safeguarding the current state of the Dutch welfare.

Country report: Portugal. Author:  Sílvia Ferreira. Until recently, the term “social enterprise” was almost absent from the political and practitioner discourse. Indeed, the main obstacle for the further development of social enterprises in Portugal is the lack of debate, clarification and some sort of agreement about its definition. The Satellite Account of the Social Economy provides the possibility to estimate the existence of 7,938 social enterprises, employing 145,734 FTE workers. Social enterprises play a central role especially in providing social services through cooperation with public administration. The types of jobs in social welfare activities tend to be permanent. For the future, stakeholders affirm that social enterprises will play an increasingly relevant role in social welfare, in particular thanks to the new generations that are trying to find innovative and sustainable solutions for the increasing social needs – especially in health and social security – after years of austerity.

All of the completed Reports and Fiches are available here. The remaining country reports will be published in the coming months.

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Published on 07/05/2019by redazione

10th International workshop on Cooperative and Responsible Finance for Development | Registrations are now open

20-21 June 2019, Trento, Italy

Euricse announces the organization of the 10th Euricse International Workshop on Cooperative and Responsible Finance for Development. The workshop, organized in collaboration with the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Trento and Federcasse (Italian Federation of Cooperative Credit Banks), with the support of EACB (the European Association of Co-operative Banks), will be held in Trento, Italy on June 20th and 21st, 2019.

The registrations are now open for the 10th Workshop on Cooperative Finance and Sustainable Development.

The participation is free of charge but for organizational reasons the registration is necessary before June 14th.

The draft version of the workshop programme is available here.

Participants can enjoy discounted rates for hotels. Here the list of affiliated hotels.

For more information:

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Published on 25/02/2019by redazione

JEOD: the new issue of the review is out

The new issue (Volume 7, Issue 2) of the international scientific Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity (JEOD) is now available online.


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Published on 30/01/2019by redazione

Structure and performance of Italian cooperatives

The Istat-Euricse report on the size of the cooperative sector

On 25 January 2019, in accordance with Euricse, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) published the first report on the size of the cooperative sector. The report is part of the research agreement “Dimensions, evolution and characteristics of the social economy” stipulated between Istat and Euricse with the aim of providing a homogeneous statistical framework on organisations in the social economy. Further presentations will follow, along with excerpts of the ebook in English, in the coming months.


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Mapping study on social enterprise ecosystems: the first seven reports are available

Latvia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Lithuania. The first seven country reports have been published on the European Commission’s website, and are now available for download. The study “Social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe” is progressively concluding, and – with it – a real mapping of social enterprises in Europe (but not only) is beginning to take shape, shedding light on the nuances, peculiarities and legal frameworks that characterize the diverse countries. The study presents a thorough analysis, expanding knowledge on the reality of social enterprises. It comes as a follow-up to the 2014 Mapping Study of 28 countries and its 2016 update to seven of them, which contributed to providing a first comparable picture of social enterprise dynamics across 28 EU countries and Switzerland. The refining of the methodology, as tested in 2016, improved the accuracy of the application of the Operational Definition to better capture recent developments in the field.


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Published on 28/12/2018by redazione

Integration of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers: two new OECD publications

Two separate articles, both published in the OECD’s LEED Working Paper Series. Giulia Galera, senior researcher at Euricse, worked on the publication of two studies that, from different angles, analyse the integration processes scattered across different European countries. The publications are available online, directly from the OECD website. What are the issues tackled in the publications? Below you can read and consult the related abstracts.


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Published on 29/11/2018by redazione

Tackling the migration and refugee challenge

A fruitful discussion forum among over 40 researchers

by Giulia Galera, Rocío Nogales

The WG2 COST Research Workshop “Tackling the migration and refugee challenge” organized in the framework of the COST Action EMPOWER-SE, succeeded in creating a fruitful discussion forum among over 40 researchers coming from 15 diverse EU countries, who are studying the migration phenomenon from different disciplinary angles.
During the two-days COST workshop economists, sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists shared the findings of their in-progress investigations and contributed to shed light on both the limitations and challenges faced by current research in a field that has high policy implications.


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Published on 28/11/2018by redazione

Euricse celebrates its 10th anniversary with a new book

“Rediscovering cooperatives”, a decade of studies in ten chapters, released to celebrate the milestone


Ten years have passed since the birth of Euricse, the ICA’s partner in producing the World Cooperative Monitor. Since 2008, the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises has grown; it has actively participated in the dissemination of knowledge about the social and solidarity economy; it has refined the tools available; it has gained authoritative space in the public and scientific debate – local, national, international – and has built a team of researchers who, day after day, have contributed to the achievement of every single result.


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Published on 13/11/2018by redazione

Conhecer para Cooperar, Salvatori in Brazil

Health care cooperatives, Euricse in Brazil to participate in OCB’s programme


The experience of health cooperatives, active in Brazil for over half a century, is being presented this week to policy makers and representatives of financial institutions through the project “Conhecer para Cooperar”. The last module of the initiative, launched by Sistema OCB, takes place today and presents how cooperatives contribute to the improvement of health indicators in Brazil through drivers such as governance, strategy and management. The event will be held at the headquarters of the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB), in Brasilia.
One of the highlights of today’s programme is the speech by Gianluca Salvatori, Secretary General of the European Institute for Research on Cooperatives and Social Enterprises (Euricse). This morning he will talk about the experiences of health cooperatives around the world and, in the afternoon, he will talk about the role of innovation, new technologies and their impact on cooperatives – factors that promise to significantly improve products, processes, organizational methods and markets.
Finally, there will also be a round table to discuss the laws and regulations affecting the cooperative movement.


Gianluca Salvatori, Euricse Secretary General

Conhecer para Cooperar

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Published on 29/10/2018by redazione

How the 300 largest cooperatives are moving forward to achieve the SDGs

World Cooperative Monitor, Report 2018 highlights


by Bruno Roelants and Gianluca Salvatori


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Progress and challenges on the road to 2030. An interview with Giovannini

“Cooperative enterprises are by nature a sustainable and participatory form of business: it is in their DNA”


“Our task is to address the roots of each problem by building cooperation through the framework and tools of sustainable development”, according to Italian economist and former labour minister, Enrico Giovannini: spokesperson for the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development, member of the global Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity, and Co-chair of the “Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development” established by the Secretary General of the United Nationsand. Professor Giovannini in the  seventh annual World Cooperative Monitor talks about the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. (more…)

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Published on 25/10/2018by redazione

World Cooperative Monitor: new ranking of the world’s 300 largest cooperatives

The 2018 edition is available. Focus on the SDGs


The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse), published today its seventh annual World Cooperative Monitor. The report paints a picture of the scale and strength of the global cooperative movement and reports on the world’s largest cooperative and mutual organisations, providing a ranking of the Top 300 and sectorial analysis based on 2016 financial data.


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