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Social Business Initiative (SBI) follow up: Cooperation between social economy enterprises and traditional enterprises

The study “Social Business Initiative (SBI) follow up: Co-operation between social economy enterprises and traditional enterprises” commissioned by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME), investigates the various forms of co-operation between social economy enterprises (SEEs) and traditional firms across different European and non-European countries, by analysing business co-operation between SEEs and traditional enterprises. 

Envisaging an increase in importance for the co-operation between SEEs and traditional enterprises, with greater positive impact as societies change, the study discusses obstacles preventing a scaling up of such co-operation and provides recommendations to help European policy makers devise more effective supporting measures. 

Among different patterns and the 16 specific forms of co-operations between SEEs and traditional enterprises explored, the study refers also to the role of local competitiveness clusters to stimulate co-operation between SEE and traditional enterprises. 

The cross-country analysis performed reveals the fact that support for SEEs in different countries varies drastically. In Europe UK is considered a best practice example among the countries studied, given the maturity and professionalism of its social economy, the comprehensive regulatory framework and the availability of private sector funding, in Brazil traditional enterprises are legally required to create social impact thus inducing co-operation, in Canada brest practice relates to venture capital investment into SEEs, incubation of social start-ups, social extra-preneurs as agents of change, local competitiveness clusters and integration of SEEs into value chain, while in US many corporations are involved in the sponsorship of SEEs and in providing in-kind donations and technical support, aiming at positively frame their business as a socially responsible actor. The survey also showed that, despite the multitude of different methods, social impact evaluation is still practised by a minority of organisations, and encounters a number of challenges, especially when evaluating co-operation between SEEs and traditional firms. The most frequently mentioned challenges are the difficulty to identify a suitable approach and method, to mobilise the necessary resources and skill sets, and to access relevant data. As a follow up of the analysis, a Social Impact Model (SIM) was developed in the form of a guideline to support practitioners to identify their ideal method according to their specific objectives and available resources. 

Based on the research findings, the study offers several recommendations for policy makers on possible actions to foster co-operation between the social economy and traditional enterprises at EU, national and regional levels.

For a thorough reading please find the executive summary and the final report attached.

The report was published on 14/08/2019 on ec.europa.eu website here.© European Union, 1995-2019

"The information and views set out in this study are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) or of the Commission. Neither EASME, nor the Commission can guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this study. Neither EASME, nor the Commission or any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.”