European Venture Philanthropy Association

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This report offers a broad definition of social enterprise and sub-types of social enterprise to provide practitioners with multiple ways to engage in social enterprise. Through case studies of EVPA members, the report illustrates how social enterprises can be effectively supported and highlights some recent trends.  

Based on differnet studies into social entrepreneurship EVPA has concluded that social enterprise, if seen as a vehicle used by social entrepreneurs, is characterized by the following features:

1. A focus on creating value for society (as opposed to appropriating value);
2. Addresses public sector and market failure by challenging or disrupting existing rules and institutions;
3. Applies market-based solutions in innovative ways.

There can be fundamental conceptual differences that exist among organisations that may be grouped within the category of social enterprise. The diagram shows the organisational type and form that are included in each category of the spectrum discussed in this report.

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© This report is freely downloadable. Should you want to add it to your website, please link to this webpage, instead of publishing the pdf itself.

Cover- Social enterprise Download the publication Download the Executive Summary


  • Marta Maretich
  • Margaret Bolton

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