Supporting social entrepreneurs for social impact

  • economy

On 11 April, EUROCITIES spoke at Euclid Summit 2018 ‘Growing ecosystems for social impact: everyone’s responsible’ opened by Pauline Krikke the Mayor of The Hague, during the keynote conversation on cities for social change; presenting the key learnings from our report on the role of cities in promoting social entrepreneurship.

Our study underlined some of the success factors of cities’ support policies:
  • a cross cutting, integrated strategy
  • coordination of a local network.

Eg. The Nantes - Ecossolies partnership enables to make visible the value and outputs of social entrepreneurship; to make social entrepreneurship equal to other forms of economic entrepreneurship on the territory; to advise project initiators in the planning and implementation of their activities; and to support projects with a social impact which respond to a need expressed by the community.

  • capacity building of entrepreneurs.

Eg. in Porto’s Center for Social Innovation, prospective social entrepreneurs are offered the opportunity to learn through collaboration with industry partners. Moreover, educational activities such as a post-graduate programme in Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation are offered, while boot camps and forums are frequently organized.

  • citizen participation (bottom-up approach).

Eg. Milan has adopted an open approach to social innovation that supports a plurality of initiatives thanks to an innovative crowd-funding platform. This approach encourages citizens to experiment, innovate and generate new and more ideas that they then put into action.

‘European networks and partnerships are very important - they represent and connect social entrepreneurs at EU level and help them to professionalise’, said Ann Branch, acting director at the European Commission DG EMPL, during the Euclid summit.
EUROCITIES members exchange on how they support social entrepreneurs in our WG smart social inclusion and in our WG Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Thanks to this knowledge sharing between cities, we have developed recommendations on how the national and EU frameworks could better support social entrepreneurs, including:
  • Establishment of common rules for a better recognition of social enterprises in the national and European legal frameworks. These legal frameworks should clarify and define issues related to public procurement, fiscal regulations and access to different financing forms, including public grants, business loans and capital markets.
  • Access to funds for innovative projects: European Commission’s post-2020 cohesion policy could include financing streams directly accessible to cities to support the development of local social entrepreneurship ecosystems.
Antonella Noya presented the learning tool on social entrepreneurship that the OECD is developing. This instrument will enable self-assessment by public autorities and social entrepreneurs. Participants to the Euclid summit tested the tool and made comments on how to improve it. This tool will be launched before the autumn 2018.
More information on Euclid Summit: