For Young Entrepreneurs and Youthworkers

Social Economy Action Plan

The EU’s Social Economy Action Plan promotes inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation through cooperative enterprises, fostering resilience, and advancing social values.

Social economy in the EU. Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The EU’s Social Economy within Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs promotes inclusive, sustainable economic growth through cooperative and social enterprises.

A map of social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe

A comprehensive map showcasing Europe’s social enterprises and their supportive ecosystems, highlighting their diverse contributions to social and economic well-being.

Social entrepreneurship & Social enterprises

OECD explores social entrepreneurship and enterprises, driving positive social and economic impact through innovative, sustainable business models, and inclusive strategies

Boosting Social Enterprise Development: Good Practice Compendium, Local Economic and Employment Development

The ‘Boosting Social Enterprise Development: Good Practice Compendium’ by OECD Publishing in Paris showcases best practices and insights for fostering social enterprise growth within the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) framework.

United Nations. Sustainability

The United Nations is a global organization dedicated to promoting international cooperation and addressing pressing global issues, with a key focus on sustainability to ensure a better future for all.

Competence Centres for Social Innovation

How do we define social innovation (SI)? How do we harness its capacity to address social challenges; provide reliable, future-facing organisations; and sustainably recover from the COVID-19 pandemic? How do we ensure that all communities experience these benefits – including rural areas, or those who do not already benefit from social funding and expertise? Six transnational projects are developing answers to these questions and building social innovation “Competence Centres” in nearly all EU Member States.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

The Commission has been supporting entrepreneurial education and youth entrepreneurship in Europe through the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme (EYE). The EYE is a cross-border business exchange programme for  entrepreneurs from the EU members states and 12 additional countries. It allows new entrepreneurs to go on an exchange with a host entrepreneur in another country for up to 6 months. By doing so, the EYE fosters the exchange of knowledge, business ideas, contacts and experiences and it also helps fight unemployment.

Policy and Regulations

Policy Brief on Social Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial Activities in Europe

The Policy Brief on Social Entrepreneurship in Europe delves into entrepreneurial activities, emphasizing innovation and social impact, essential for fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth across the continent.

Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 establishing the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)

Regulation (EU) 2021/1057, enacted on 24 June 2021, establishes the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), detailed in the Official Journal of the EU in Luxembourg, outlining crucial social funding measures.

National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland

The National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland, published by the Government of Ireland in Dublin, outlines a strategic framework to support and promote social enterprises in the country.

Report on legal frameworks for the SSE 2022 OECD EC

The OECD Global Action “Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems”, funded by the European Union, through its work stream on legal frameworks, endeavours to: 1) increase knowledge and understanding on legal frameworks for the social and solidarity economy; 2) explore approaches and trends of legal frameworks to regulate the social and solidarity economy as a whole and social economy organisations; and 3) understand how legal frameworks can be used to promote and develop the social and solidarity economy in different contexts.

InvestEU Portal

Are you a project promoter of a project based in the EU who wants to reach potential investors worldwide? Register your project in the InvestEU Portal and boost its visibility to a large network of international investors! Start today by submitting your project below.

Or are you an investor looking for investment opportunities in areas such as energy efficiency, transport, healthcare, renewable energy, broadband infrastructure or in financing SMEs? The InvestEU Portal will offer you a broad choice of viable projects.

HELPDESK project

As a result of the growing need for care and support characterising present time, demand for quality social services is constantly increasing. Despite their crucial role, it is widely acknowledged that, nowadays, social services are facing important challenges, such as chronic underfunding, staff shortages and challenges in transitioning to community-based and person-centred forms of services. EU funds, particularly ESF+ (European Social Fund Plus) and ERDF (the European Regional Development Fund), can create key opportunities to overcome these obstacles.

Policy Guide on Legal Frameworks for the Social and Solidarity Economy (2023)

The Policy Guide on Legal Frameworks for the Social and Solidarity Economy aims to support countries, regions and cities wishing to use legal frameworks as an appropriate lever to develop conducive social and solidarity economy (SSE) ecosystems. Building on data and information as well as good practice examples from over 33 countries, it provides step-by-step guidance, success factors and “pitfalls to avoid” to help policy makers i) assess why and when legal frameworks for the SSE are needed; ii) select legal options and involve stakeholders; iii) evaluate the performance of laws, and, iv) foster international peer learning on this topic. The guide also capitalises on learnings from the scoping paper on Legal frameworks for the social and solidarity economy, prepared as part of the OECD Global Action “Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems”, funded by the European Union’s Foreign Partnership Instrument and Designing Legal Frameworks for Social Enterprises: Practical Guidance for Policy Makers.

Publications and Research articles

Scaling-up social innovation Seven steps for using ESF+.

“Scaling-up social innovation through ESF+ involves seven strategic steps. ESF Transnational Cooperation Platform and Community of Practice on Social Innovation facilitate collaborative, impactful initiatives.”

Social innovation in health monitoring and evaluation framework.

“The World Health Organization’s ‘Social Innovation in Health Monitoring and Evaluation Framework’ in Geneva provides a comprehensive approach to assess and enhance social innovation in healthcare practices globally.”

Mapping of social economy stakeholders

The social economy ecosystem in Europe is diverse, with many organisations working on representing, supporting and promoting the social economy. In this section we aim to map key stakeholders, starting with networks that are active at European level.

The list is non-exhaustive. Organisations active in specific countries can be found in the country pages.

Social enterprises and their ecosystems in Europe – Comparative synthesis report

The characteristics of social enterprises differ a lot from country to country concerning their number, size, legal forms and fields of activities. To create a clearer picture, the Commission has carried out a series of studies, mapping the reality of social enterprises in the 35 European countries using a common definition and approach. This EU level synthesis report collates and interprets the key findings from country reports and draws a European picture of social enterprises and the environments in which they operate, the “ecosystems”. The report brings together a comprehensive picture of different country traditions, salient trends and key challenges across Europe.


Social Enterprise 101

A social enterprise video highlights the mission-driven businesses creating positive social and environmental impact. It showcases their innovative approaches to address pressing issues while maintaining financial sustainability.

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

The video “What is Social Entrepreneurship?” explores the concept, showcasing inspiring examples of individuals and organizations using innovative business models to drive positive social change while remaining financially sustainable.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

The video “What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?” delves into the concept, illustrating how businesses integrate ethical practices, environmental stewardship, and community engagement into their core operations.

What is a social entrepreneur?

The video “What is a Social Entrepreneur?” explores the concept, profiling individuals who leverage innovative solutions and business models to drive positive social change and sustainable impact.

How To Make A Business Partnership Work

The video “How To Make A Business Partnership Work” offers valuable insights and practical tips for fostering successful and harmonious partnerships in the world of business.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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