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Promoting social enterprise financing

Social enterprises stand behind some of the most fascinating social innovations in Europe in recent years. Many compelling cases from all over the continent have demonstrated how social innovators running social enterprises are managing to address some of the most pressing social challenges, while at the same time running a business. Such cases have bred high expectations from the side of policy-makers at all levels. At EU-level, social enterprises are seen as an almost perfect example of what the EU’s vision of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth could look like in real life. At member state level, social enterprises are seen as new and promising actors that can support the public sector in addressing social challenges while at the same time creating jobs and growth. Whether realistic or not, these expectations have put the European social enterprises front and centre in fundamental discussions around how we as societies address social challenges and how we define growth.

This paper builds on research undertaken within the project ‘Building a Social Finance Market in Denmark’ commissioned by the National Centre for Social Enterprises and carried out by the Danish Technological Institute in 2014/2015. Through mapping of international practices, investigation and evaluation of existing financing schemes as well as five interviews and two workshops with key experts, commercial investors, social investors, policy-makers and foundations, the project investigates ways to promote the creation of a market for social enterprise financing in Denmark. 

This paper has been produced as part of the Social Innovation Europe project (SIE).

For the purpose of this report, two expert interviews have been conducted which have been published separately: