Brussels meeting to share social enterprise study findings

07 November 2016

Researchers from across the EU are gathering in Brussels tomorrow (November 8) to discuss their findings in comparing the characteristics of international social enterprise models.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has been working with the University of Florence alongside ten other partners on a three-year-study.

Enabling the Flourishing and Evolution of Social Entrepreneurship for Innovative and Inclusive Societies (EFESEIIS) investigates the characteristics of an ‘enabling ecosystem’ for social enterprises and businesses which improve social inclusion.

EFESEIIS aspires to give all the key information to a wide range of stakeholders – from policy makers, financial organisations, and local authorities to individuals – to remove the barriers preventing the growth of social entrepreneurship and support its development worldwide.

GCU’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health researchers Micaela Mazzei, Professor Simone Baglioni, Dr Steven Sinclair and Dr Michael Roy found social enterprise would be able to flourish and evolve through supporting tax benefits and a reduction in bureaucracy associated with delivering public authority services.

Many social enterprises are still burdened by procurement processes which do not recognise social and environmental values that would benefit society as well as providing cost effective societal solutions in the long term.

Researchers found that stakeholders consider local authority support as the key-ingredient for success in social enterprises. Local authorities have such a pre-eminent role in the configuration of the social enterprise ecosystem primarily because they provide opportunities for social entrepreneurship in conjunction with social services, or delivery of state health and welfare services.

However, local authorities suffer from public budget cuts and therefore their capacity to sustain social entrepreneurship is challenged.

Research Fellow Micaela Mazzei said: “Social enterprises are seen as providing solutions to many pressing problems in contemporary societies and political interest in their success and growth is high. Therefore, enhancing the practical applicability of research findings and generating close collaborations between academic and non-academic stakeholders in the field of social enterprises will contribute to the problem-solving capacity in the EU and beyond.”