It is safe to say that the development of social entrepreneurship in Serbia depends on the activities of civil society organizations. Some have dedicated themselves to supporting the recognition of social entrepreneurship as a business model that can be very helpful in solving the accumulated problems in our country, while others have launched business actors that work according to this model.
On March 14, 2014, representatives of numerous civil society organizations from the Western Balkans region and Turkey signed the Belgrade Declaration on the Development of Social Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans Region and Turkey, which aims to help recognize the importance of this sector for economic and social development and set guidelines for its development in the region. Signed at the Regional Forum for Social Innovation in Belgrade, the Declaration was officially launched just two months after the adoption of the Strasbourg Declaration on Social Entrepreneurship in the European Union.
On this occasion, it was noted that countries in the region face similar problems in the sector, ranging from a misunderstanding of the concepts of the social economy, insufficient regulations and delays in the adoption of laws, to problems of funding and institutional support. Three principles were highlighted on which the further development of social entrepreneurship in the region should be based: The European Union, Western Balkan countries, and Turkey should officially commit to the development of social entrepreneurship in their public policies; there is a need to build a partnership between public institutions, the civil and corporate sectors, and the social entrepreneurship sector to develop the social economy; and institutions should support the growth of social enterprises through capacity building.
Several initiatives have been launched for the association of social economy actors, the most important of which are the Coalition for the Development of Social Entrepreneurship (2010), later renamed the Coalition for the Development of Solidarity Economy, and SENS – Social Economy Network of Serbia (2011).
Civil society organizations participated in the development of the legal framework for social entrepreneurship and prepared the draft law (2019), which served as the basis for the Law on Social Entrepreneurship, adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in February 2022.
At the Social Innovation Forum held in Belgrade on June 15, 2022, civil sector representatives from Western Balkan countries adopted the Western Balkans Civil Society Declaration on Social Economy. Believing that it is time to include the social economy in the official and visible policies of the governments of the Western Balkan countries and regional bodies, the representatives of civil society organizations signed a declaration in which they call on and encourage decision-makers in the EU, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Serbia to take certain steps to promote its development. These steps include further cooperation in creating a more favorable policy environment for the development of the social economy, adequate financial support that recognizes its specificity, association and cross-sector partnerships, and dissemination of knowledge about the social economy.
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