Social businesses in europe

Article published on March 21, 2014
Article published on March 21, 2014
What is a social business and why it matters to us? Seemingly, a strange question for readers and authorities but the question is hardly an academic one as Europe has some strong social business actors out hrere. Somewhere between the buzzwords of the time: tech starups, soaring european unemployment, economic stagnation, lies a notion, that associates financial prosperity and social innovation.

-Combine doing business and solving a social problem? What do you mean?

-Oh dear, yes, you can make money and concentrate on solving a social problem too.

What is a social business and why it matters to us?

Seemingly, a strange question for readers and authorities but the question is hardly an academic one as Europe has some strong social business actors out hrere. Somewhere between the buzzwords of the time: tech starups, soaring european unemployment, economic stagnation, lies a notion, that associates financial prosperity and social innovation. Back to the basics, the main objective of a business called social, is to generate a significant impact on society, the environment and the local economy. 

A social business/social enterprise is an undertaking:

- whose primary objective is to achieve social impact rather than generating profit for owners and shareholders,

-which uses its surplus mainly to achieve these social goals,

-which is managed by social entrepreneurs in an accountable, transparent and innovative way, in particular by involving workers, customers and stakeholders affected by its business activity.

Have we found the oasis in the desert of european public debt? Make no mistake, these basics are not understood by many people, certainly not national authorities as the path over regulation is foggy.

In this section, we will publish the stories of young entrepreneurs, mapping their efforts through different storytelling methods. What's the european playground for a social entrepreneur? Is there any innovation involved or is it only stories of social exclusion? Maybe we will end up with a data base of ideas, social causes or complaints across the countries we will report. However, we believe some interesting stories will jump out of these webpages and stand boldly to you.

For starters, we are concerned with :

a. giving more visibility to social enterpreneurs

b. investigating their access to finance

c. examine the legal environment they operate in (who are the lucky and who the courageous) 

And in true cafebabel fashion: Do you have a story? Share it with us!

Some interesting european data:

Social Economy in the European Union:

10% of the European economy (GDP)

More than 11 millions of workers, 4,5% of the active EU population.

7,5% of the active population in Finland, 5,7% in the United Kingdom, 5,4% in Slovenia, 4,1% in Belgium, 3.3% in Italy, 3,1% in France, etc

1 out of 4 new set-up every year in the European Union, and up to 1 out of 3 in Finland, France and Belgium.