MAPPING2 - Mapping study on social enterprise eco-systems (follow-up)

MAPPING2 - Mapping study on social enterprise eco-systems (follow-up)

The seven countries included in this round of revision include Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain.

EMES and EURICSE are responsible for the scientific and facilitation coordination of the project “Mapping study on social enterprise eco-systems” launched by the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. The communication agency Tipik has been appointed by the EC and will be in charge of the implementation of the new mapping project.

The goal of this follow-up project is to update and complete seven of the 28 national reports in EU countries and Switzerland published by the EC in 2014. Specifically, it aims to:

  1. Improve the quality of the evidence presented in seven country reports produced in 2014 and to provide background information and illustrative examples.
  2. Exploit the potential of the country reports for boosting public awareness on social enterprise involving a wide range of experts, practitioners and stakeholders.
  3. Allow for a comparative analysis and the assessment of policy implications.
  4. Ultimately, the revision will illustrate the consistency and evolutionary dynamics of the various organizational typologies that form the social enterprise universe of each country.


The project had a coordination team composed of Carlo Borzaga, Giulia Galera and Barbara Franchini from EURICSE and Rocío Nogales from EMES. Together, EMES and Euricse coordinated a network of national researchers both from within and outside their communities to ensure the deep knowledge and connection to the field given the complex historical, socioeconomic, political and cultural backgrounds existing in each of the countries. The seven countries and the researchers mobilized are in each of them are:

The European report entitled “Social Enterprises and their Eco-systems: Developments in Europe” provides an overview across the seven countries as well as some reflections on future trends.

In addition to the dedicated work of national leading researchers on social enterprise, this process included an active involvement of various categories of national stakeholders through an on-line consultation.

The project also counted with an Advisory Board composed of Naděžda Johanisová from the Czech Republic, Fergus Lyon from the UK and Victor Pestoff from Sweden/US. ICSEM scientific coordinators, Marthe Nyssens and Jacques Defourny from Belgium, also provide valuable feedback on the process and some of the reports.

Main results

After a year of intensive work, coordination, and consultation with stakeholders, this exercise has confirmed the consistency and evolutionary dynamics of the various organizational typologies that form the social enterprise universe of each country. At the EU level, it appears that the number of social enterprises in Europe is increasing and they are engaging in new fields. Many countries are introducing new legislation as well as new support schemes to boost the development of social enterprises. Both public and private markets offer new opportunities for social enterprises to start up and grow.

The reports place social enterprises in their societal and economic context, notably explaining their relation to so called social economy, which have a strong tradition for example Italy, France, Spain and Belgium. An important finding is that both social economy and social enterprises have shown resilience and job retention during the economic crises and beyond. Because they respond to concrete societal needs and are often locally rooted, they are not exposed to speculative risks or job losses due to relocations.

However, major blocks remain on the way at the level of measuring social enterprise within countries and across Europe, articulating the social enterprise communities across countries and supporting the right of financing both from private and public sources in a context of deep transformation of traditional funding sources.

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