Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

Social Economy



An entire segment of the economy is composed of entities that aim to increase social inclusion and reduce inequalities, while simultaneously creating economic value. Social economy organisations, such as different types of cooperatives, associations, foundations, mutuals and social enterprises (which are businesses of various legal forms using an entrepreneurial approach in order to respond to an increasing number of social and environmental challenges) are developing at a fast pace around the world. While measuring them remains challenging both at national and international levels, existing evidence suggests that they are vibrant agents assisting local and national economic development and contributing to inclusive growth and shared prosperity through  job creation, re-integration of vulnerable individuals to society and the labour market, and environmental sustainability. Fostering their development requires an enabling ecosystem comprised of a conducive legal and regulatory framework, tailored financial tools and access to markets. Building this enabling ecosystem requires raising awareness of the social and environmental impacts of social enterprises, and building the capacity of public authorities, social enterprises and impact investors to collaborate in a mutually beneficial way.


Job creation through the social economy and social entrepreneurship
This report examines the role of Social Economy Organisation's in the provision of employment, and how they have fared during the recent period of economic turbulence. Attention was also paid to SEOs working with vulnerable individuals, either as direct providers of jobs, or providers of training and services designed to help vulnerable individuals into the mainstream labour market. 

Other Publications:

Working papers and Policy Papers:


How to implement Social Impact Bonds in Poland?- Expert Seminar- 31 May 2016- Warsaw, Poland

High-level Capacity Building Seminar: Building enabling ecosystems for social enterprises - 22-23 April 2015, Brussels, Belgium

Social Impact Bonds: Promises and Pitfalls - Expert Seminar - 15 April 2015, Paris, France 

Unpacking the New Geography of Venture Philanthropy & Social Investment - June 2014

Workshop: Potential of social enterprises for job creation and green economy - how to stimulate their start and development? 2013

Capacity building seminar: Getting the long-term unemployed back into work - New finance and delivery mechanisms (Trento, Italy) - 2013

Conference: Promoting social entrepreneurship in France (Paris, France) - 2012

Challenge social innovation - Innovating innovation by research, 100 years after Schumpeter - 2011

International conference on social entrepreneurship (Rome, Italy)

Seminar on "Emerging models of social entrepreneurship: possible paths for social enterprise development in Central East and South East Europe", Zagreb, Croatia, 28-29 September 2006

Conference: Improving social inclusion at the local level through the social economy - (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Conference on Social Economy: The Leading Actor for Social Cohesion and the Lisbon Strategy, Luxembourg, 11-12 March 2005

Conference on The Social Economy in Central, East and South-East Europe: Emerging Trends of Social Innovation and Local Development

Seminar on "Social Economy and Social Innovation", Trento, Italy, 14-19 November 2004

6th FORUM back mat Improving social inclusion through social economy



Social Entrepreneurship in Europe: an OECD-EC Project

LEED Forum on Social Innovations

LEED Trento Centre: social innovation, social inclusion, social economy



Stimulating Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation (2015-16)

Project: Tackling disadvantage at a time of limited resources (2013-14)

Project: Boosting social entrepreneurship and social enterprise creation (2013-14)

Project: Boosting local entrepreneurship and enterprise creation (2013-14)

Tackling long-term unemployment amongst vulnerable groups (2011-12)

Job creation through social entrepreneurship and the social economy (2011-12)

Reviews on entrepreneurship, SMEs and local development (2011-12)

Improving social inclusion at the local level through the social economy (2009-10)