5th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise

5th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise

The EMES International Research Network, in partnership with the Finnish Network on Social Enterprise (FinSERN), organised the 5th International Research Conference on Social Enterprise entitled “Building a scientific field to foster social enterprise eco-system” in July 2015 in Helsinki (Finland).

186 papers presented | 64 sessions | 7 panel sessions | 52 parallel sessions | 5 poster sessions

Helsinki (Finland)

Building a scientific field to foster social enterprise eco-system

Conference rationale

In the midst of what some consider the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis, social enterprises continue to struggle with changing conditions that transform their role and position in society. In addition to growing social challenges and inequalities both in urban and rural areas, the need to develop key industries for ecological transition, or the challenge to provide opportunities for increasingly disadvantaged groups constitute the playing field for social enterprises today. Social enterprises are developing in a variety of fields (social services, health, education, culture, environment, finance, etc.) and their relevance continues to increase.

This conference provided a forum for truly international and interdisciplinary academic discussions about social enterprise, giving the floor to a variety of scientific approaches (non-profit sector, cooperatives, social economy, solidarity economy and civil society) as well as for emerging research communities (social innovation, social entrepreneurship, social investment, venture philanthropy, hybrid organisations, etc.).


The conference co-chairs were Marthe Nyssens (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium) and Pekka Pättiniemi (FinSERN, Finland). They were supported by the members of the Scientific Committee:

Best paper award & Best PhD presentation

For the second edition of this Award, the winners of the “Best Conference Paper” is María L. Granados from the University of Westminster (UK) for her paper “Knowing what Social Enterprises know”.

I am very happy to receive the 2015 EMES Conference Best Paper Award in the Scholar category. This is an encouraging recognition of my research and work in Social Enterprises from a group of scholars that I really admire. It gives me the motivation to continue pursuing my research in understanding more about this important and valuable enterprises”, said María when she received the notification of the Award.

The winner of the “Best PhD Presentation” is Merie Joseph Kannampuzha from the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics (Finland) for her paper Social Innovation and Earned Income – Antecedents and Outcomes of the Institutional Logics in Hybrid Social Enterprises” (together with Kai Hockerts). When she heard about the reMerie Joseph shared with us that

“This award is an honor to an early career researcher like me. I am happy to be recognized by EMES for the research which is part of my PhD and I thank the EMES Best Paper award evaluation committee for this award. It was the result of a joint effort with Prof. Kai Hockerts and we worked together to develop the database for the research, the survey and the article. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with him and get his guidance during my PhD. I also thank my husband Manuel for supporting my research career and taking care of our little Francisco while I was away in Copenhagen for my research work.”

5th EMES Selected Conference Papers

An additional way for researchers participating in the EMES international conferences to share their work is the EMES Selected Conference Papers. Following the Conference, a series of papers were selected based on the evaluation of the session chairs and published on the conference page.They are available to download to all visitors to the EMES network website.

They are available to download to all visitors to the EMES Publications.

Please note that these papers were not reviewed as for a publication process and they may be a different stages of the research process. For more information about the papers, we encourage you to contact the author(s) directly.

Meeting of the Alumni Network

During the Conference, several meetings of researchers and ongoing project consortia took place. For instance, the EMES Alumni network held its first formal meeting gathering seven young scholars having recently got their PhD and involved in EMES.

Members of the group who participated in the meeting of the network include: Millán Díaz-Foncea (Spain), Jennifer Eschweiler (Germany), Michela Giovannini (Italy/Chile), María Granados (Colombia/UK), Carmen Guzmán (Spain), Benjamin Huybrechts (Belgium), and Pablo Nachar (Chile). After a first roundtable to share the expectations with regard to this network, two main goals were identified.

On the one hand, the Alumni network should be a space for mutual exchange about the challenges and opportunities of early career development, including obtaining research funding and academic positions. On the other hand, the network endorses a supporting role for PhD students working on social enterprise, translating into a presence at the EMES PhD summer school and interactions with the EMES PhD network.

General ICSEM Meeting

The General ICSEM Meeting that took place in Helsinki on June 29-30, 2015, just before the 5th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, brought together some 90 researchers from close to 40 countries.

The agenda of the meeting included discussion of the Project’s first phase—taking stock of the achievements so far in terms of editing and publication of Working Papers, organization of ICSEM meetings and preparation of the data collection. The Project’s second phase and the preparation of joint books and special issues of journals were also presented during the morning.

During the afternoon, issues linked to data collection on social enterprise models were discussed. The two Scientific Coordinators, Jacques Defourny and Marthe Nyssens, presented a tentative typology of SE models. The participants were then split in several groups to discuss regional publication projects, inter alia a book on different social enterprise models in Latin America and on social enterprise and the Social Economy.

Several of the papers presented during the conference joined the list of ICSEM Working Papers available on the project website.

A photo album of the meeting is available on the ICSEM website.


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