Social enterprise - From definition to developments in practice

September 04, 2010



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

Based on different studies into social entrepreneurship, EVPA has concluded that social enterprise, is characterized by the following features:

  • Focuses on creating value for society (as opposed to appropriating value)
  • Addresses public sector and market failure by challenging or disrupting existing rules and institutions
  • Applies market-based solutions in innovative ways

It is important to stress that there can be fundamental conceptual differences among organisations, although grouped within the same category of ‘social enterprise’. The diagram below shows the organisational type and form that are included in each category of the spectrum discussed in this report:

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This article was written by

Marta Maretich Marta Maretich

Margaret Bolton Margaret Bolton

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