Aid and support for the social economy in Poland. The case of social cooperatives
4th CIRIEC International Research Conference on Social Economy University of Antwerp, 24-26 October 2013
This text is aimed at discussing aid and support for the social economy in Poland. The example of social cooperatives was selected because they are the only legally defined social enterprises in Poland and are included in all programs and regulations concerning aid and support directed to the social economy. The first part of this article presents basic information on the Polish social economy, subsequently the nature of social cooperatives under the law is specified. The first two sections provide a background and introduction to the issue of aid and support for social cooperatives presented in the third part. The last part is devoted to the brief identification of new trends in helping the social economy and new support tools – primarily in the form of a pilot lending fund, « ES fundusz ». The summary of this text aims to, in particular, answer the following questions. Firstly, is the provision of aid and support lawful (in relation to fair/unfair competition)? Secondly, is aid and support provided in the same manner in each region of Poland? If there are any differences, how do they impact social cooperatives? Finally, is the aid and support delivered efficiently and, therefore, is the development of social cooperatives stimulated?