“Whenever the society gets stuck it needs an entrepreneur who will see an opportunity, who will turn their vision into a realistic idea, and then into reality, and finally into a new pattern throughout society… We need such social entrepreneurship… That is the job of social entrepreneurs.”
Bill Drayton, founder of the first
global organization for social
Social entrepreneurship represents a relatively new form of business which can relate to all legal forms business entities – collectives, citizen’s association, foundations, companies and groups for professional rehabilitation and employment of individuals with disabilities, business incubators and dependant social/spin-off companies, development agencies, limited liability companies and others.
Social entrepreneurship means doing business with the idea that by investing profits made by selling a product or service you fulfill a clear social mission. That means that the earned funds do not serve to increase profits of an individual, but rather be invested for other purposes such as employing people who have a harder time finding work, social and medical services, education, preservation of the environment, cultural activities in the communities, etc. Social entrepreneurship deals with identifying and dealing with social issues such as seclusion, poverty, unemployment and others through using innovative methods and strategies.
In Europe, this form of business is known as “social economy”, whereas in Serbia it is known as “social entrepreneurship”, therefore in this presentation we will use this term in order to avoid any language confusion. In order for any legal entity to do business following the principles of social entrepreneurship, the European Committee has defined a few criteria (“Social Business Initiative“, 2011):
Social economy can be considered as foundation for the European Project of Integration. Through aiding the development of economy founded on solidarity, social economy helps member countries achieve several key goals of the European Union such as creating and maintaining work positions, social inclusion, social innovation, rural and regional development, protection and preservation of environment, and others. Even though it is not simple to define and classify this form of doing business mainly due to different understanding and status of social entrepreneurship in different countries. It is considered that in European Union there are around 2 million legal entities with about 14.5 million employees (6.5% of the working population)who do business following the principles of social economy.
In Serbia the legal and methodological framework for social development hasn’t been developed. The law which would regulate this has 4 times been put in the procedure for adoption in the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia but was then withdrawn . The only relevant research was done in 2012 and showed some interesting data:
In Serbia there are 1.196 legal entities that do business following the principles of social entrepreneurship. Cooperatives make up for 65.6%, associations of citizens 23.7%, enterprises for employment of persons with disabilities 3.8%, development agencies 2.7%. Everyone else (foundations, business incubators, dependant/spin-off enterprises and other) made up for 4.3% of the total number of social entrepreneurs.
All of the aforementioned goes to say that this form of business here is still new, and that the community hasn’t recognized the specifics and benefits of social economy for overcoming the effects of the economy crisis and overall social development.
What is social entrepreneurship? Watch a short promotion video which was made made by the network of social economy of Serbia (SENS)
Publications regarding social entrepreneurship in Serbian language
Economic influence of social enterprises in Serbia, Republic institute for Statistics, Belgrade, 2014 http://webrzs.stat.gov.rs/WebSite/repository/documents/00/01/40/87/Socijalna_preduzeca_srpski.pdfhttp://webrzs.stat.gov.rs/WebSite/repository/documents/00/01/40/87/Socijalna_preduzeca_srpski.pdf
Brochure for social entrepreneurship for the young, Coalition for the development of social entrepreneurship, European movement in Serbia, Belgrade, 2013
Guide for setting up social enterprises – business for man, Smark collective, Belgrade, 2013
Encouraging social entrepreneurship and setting up social enterprises in the Republic of Serbia, OECD report for the Republic of Serbia, Team for social inclusion and reduction of poverty (SIRPU) in the government of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade, 2012
Recommendations for the support of the development of the capacities of social enterprises in Serbia, European movement in Serbia, Belgrade, 2011
Social entrepreneurship: models, comparative practices and legal framework for social entrepreneurship in Serbia, Group 484, Belgrade, 2011
Social enterprises and the role of alternative economy in processes of European integrations. European movement in Serbia, Belgrade, 2008
Mapping of social enterprises in Serbia, SeCons, Belgrade, 2008