GCU partners in European Social Enterprise study

16 December 2013

Dr Simone Baglioni

Dr Simone Baglioni

The University’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health is partnering with its Italian counterpart on a major research project for the first time.

GCU’s Centre will work with Yunus Social Business Centre at the University of Florence, alongside nine other European partners, on an EU FP7-funded project which will use evolutionary theory to identify and explain how social businesses and enterprises develop and grow.

Both research centres have been named after Nobel Peace Prize Winner and GCU Chancellor Professor Muhammad Yunus and are part of a worldwide network linked to the renowned economist and microfinance pioneer.

The three-year-study, Enabling the Flourishing and Evolution of Social Entrepreneurship for Innovative and Inclusive Societies (EFESEIIS), will investigate the characteristics of an ‘enabling ecosystem’ for social enterprises and businesses which improve social inclusion.

Dr Simone Baglioni, GCU’s lead research on the project, said: “We want to understand social enterprise as a living phenomenon which evolved like human beings. We want to identify the specific environment which, in conjunction with organizational and individual characteristics, decides whether a social business survives or not.”

GCU will receive a proportion of the Euro 3 million funding from the European Commission’s competitive FP7 programme which will allow the University to have a research team devoted to the project.

Dr Baglioni will work with colleagues Dr. Steven Sinclair, a Reader in Social Policy at GCU Glasgow School for Business and Society, and Michael Roy, PhD candidate at the Yunus Centre and former social entrepreneur. An additional researcher will be recruited in the coming months.

There are around 2000 social enterprises in Scotland, with 500 in Glasgow alone, and Scotland is widely seen by practitioners and policy makers as having one of the most supportive environments for social enterprises in the world.

Professor Cam Donaldson, Yunus Chair in Social Business and Health and Director of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, said: “This kind of European funding is extremely competitive - there were more than 150 entries for this call alone. So to be among the awardees is a very significant achievement and heralds an exciting new chapter for the Yunus Centre here in Glasgow and for the ‘Yunus Network’ of research centres internationally.”