GCU enhances impact of social enterprise through international research

01 February 2016

GCU enhances impact of social enterprise through international research

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are taking part in an international mobility project designed to enhance innovation in social enterprise and drive lasting societal impact.

Funded by the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation’s Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Actions, the three-year ‘For a Better Tomorrow: Social Enterprise on the Move’ project will involve a network of academics from across the world exchanging knowledge with social enterprises in their local communities.

Through a programme of staff secondments between the UK, Argentina, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, the US, China and Israel, the research network will investigate the crucial factors of success for social enterprises in different contexts and the effects of policy and societal challenges on their development.

Across Europe, social enterprise is being considered as an innovative model and means of enhancing social cohesion amidst challenges of demographic change and ageing societies, high unemployment, economic restructuring and declining natural resources as well as enhanced international mobility.

Through the project, social enterprises will be equipped with hands-on knowledge of how to best relate with other stakeholders and how to take on challenges encountered in setting up the enterprise and researchers will profit from a clearer concept of social enterprises and future research needs.

The research will lead to the development of best practice case studies of successful social enterprises as well as a teaching tool which could be developed into qualifications in establishing a successful social enterprise.

GCU Professor of Politics Simone Baglioni is working with fellow researchers from the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health and the Glasgow School for Business and Society, Dr Michael Roy, Professor Simon Teasdale, Dr Stephen Sinclair and Dr Olga Biosca. In the UK, the project will involve social enterprise partner Inverclyde Community Development Trust, which provides and creates jobs for people from disadvantaged groups and areas.

GCU has been driving research on social enterprises with a comparative international perspective. The University is currently working with the University of Florence alongside ten other European partners, on another three-year-study, Enabling the Flourishing and Evolution of Social Entrepreneurship for Innovative and Inclusive Societies (EFESEIIS), which will investigate 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.

Professor Baglioni 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. As the University for the Common Good, GCU is delighted to be contributing to this significant work.” 

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