Bratislava, 1 December 2016
The European Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (or GECES) issues key report of recommendations to all stakeholders, public and private, involved in supporting the development of social entrepreneurship as a way to promote sustainable growth in Europe. Presented today, the report is a call for action to the European Commission, member states as well as social enterprise organisations, to increase the political focus on and resources dedicated to social entrepreneurship in Europe.
Europe is facing enormous economic, social and environmental challenges and needs pragmatic and innovative solutions to address them. Social enterprises are effective vehicles to develop and deliver business models that have a social mission at their core. The GECES report proposes a European Action Plan for the Social Economy and Social Enterprises, putting forward a series of 13 recommendations for concrete actions, addressed to private and public, national, local and European stakeholders. It is structured according to four thematic areas:
1. Towards Increased Visibility, Recognition and Identity
2. Improving Access to Funding
3. Improving the Legal Environment
4. Driving International Development and Growth
Of particular relevance to EVPA members, the area of access to funding specifically addresses the needs of social enterprises, in terms of capacity building, financing, as well as infrastructure, while also looking at mechanisms that encourage more public funding and mobilise private funding.
The GECES report was unanimously endorsed on October 14, and officially presented on the occasion of the two-day international conference on Social Economy organised under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, closing today in Bratislava. The conference, gathering more than 200 participants, saw the participation of two European Commissioners and a number of European Ministers and Secretaries of State.
Elinor de Pret, EVPA’s Head of Policy, comments: “The adoption of the GECES Report is a major signal of the importance of social entrepreneurship for the social and economic fabric of Europe. It also relaunches the political impetus initiated by the Social Business Initiative adopted by European Commission in 2011”.
This Report is a call for action to stimulate social entrepreneurship, issued to the European Commission, member states as well as social enterprises organisations. According to Dr. Lisa Hehenberger, policy advisor to EVPA, lecturer at ESADE and a member of the GECES since 2012 “EVPA has played an important role in developing the GECES recommendations through the members involved, but also through EVPA’s accumulated data and knowledge that have been key inputs in the process.” Dr. Hehenberger was the rapporteur of the working group on Improving Access to Funding.
If you are interested in the keynote speech of Commissioner Thyssen on the occasion of the presentation of the report at the International Conference on Social Economy under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, Bratislava, please find it here.
 The GECES (or ‘Groupe d‘Experts de la Commission sur l‘Entrepreneuriat Social’) is a consultative multi-stakeholder group on social business set up to examine the progress of the measures envisaged in the Social Business Initiative (SBI), a Communication adopted by the European Commission in October 2011.
 Set up for a period of six years (2012-2017), the GECES is currently made up of 26 public members, seven observers and 42 non-public members, a number of which being part of EVPA’s membership (incl. Ashoka, Bates Wells Braithwaite, Cooperative for Ethical Financing, ERSTE Stiftung, FASE, NESsT, Phineo AG, Social Finance UK, Social Value UK, TISE).
Ask more info about this article