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Policy Brief on Scaling the Impact of Social Enterprises

Policies for social entrepreneurship

European Commission and OCDE Galitopoulou Stellina, Antonella Noya, Flaviano Zandonai, Giulia Galera, Francesca Calò, Lou Aisenberg, 2016

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Social enterprises contribute to addressing today’s key social challenges – including poverty, social exclusion and unemployment – as well as overcoming gaps in generalinterest service delivery. They also promote sustainable development and new ways of doing business, drawing on local assets and supporting job creation while generating tax revenues and triggering more efficient government spending. As social enterprises generate value that benefits local communities and society at large, scaling their social impact is in the interest of today’s decision makers at all levels (Buckingham and Teasdale, 2013; Borzaga and Galera, 2011; Borzaga and Defourny, 2001; Ashoka/McKinsey, 2012; Social Entrepreneurship Network, 2014;OECD, 1999).

Social enterprises are mainly concentrated in specific niches – particularly in local contexts – and are not evenly spread within and across countries (European Commission, 2014). Not only is their potential far from fully realised, but fast-growing and increasingly diversified social needs and environmental concerns call for a bolder presence of social enterprises. Public policies should therefore acknowledge social enterprises’ capacity to generate value for the community and support their scaling efforts as a key objective.Scaling social impact is a big challenge for all the entities – public agencies, networks of social enterprises, communities of practitioners and researchers – that are committed to supporting social enterprise development. In most cases, the value-creation chain of social enterprises differs significantly from that of conventional enterprises.(3)

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