Impact Assessment Accompanying Document on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds
The subject matter of this impact assessment is social businesses and their funding.
Social businesses are an emerging type of business, which seeks to achieve social goals through the use of business techniques. Such enterprises draw on a wide range of funding sources – public money in the form of grants, charitable donations, direct investments – but take a business form so they can draw on support from the financial markets.
Social business is a significant part of the European economy. Consultation on the Commission’s Social Business Initiative has shown the wide range and growing maturity of this sector. External assessments show that the number of social businesses and their impact is growing: the 2009 GEM survey1 estimated the share of the population involved in social entrepreneurship as 4.1% in Belgium, 7.5% in Finland, 3.1% in Germany, 3.3% in Italy, 5.4% in Slovenia, and 5.7% in the United Kingdom. Approximately one in four businesses founded in Europe would therefore be a social enterprise. These estimates suggest this is not a small sector, and in absolute terms the number of EU citizens directly employed within or indirectly impacted by the sector is significant.