Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

Project: Boosting social entrepreneurship and social enterprise creation


A LEED cross-country comparative project for 2013-2014

Issues / Methods / Participation / Outputs / Contact 


The objective of the review on social entrepreneurship and social enterprise creation is to examine and analyse the conditions which have an impact on this sector and identify the role which policy can play in supporting its development.



Social entrepreneurship is increasingly acknowledged for its contribution to the creation of economic and social well being, and most especially for its capacity to address, in an innovative way, global and local social challenges. The OECD work in this field has explored both the achievements and the potential of social entrepreneurship, and has highlighted some areas in which critical knots for the development of the sector remain and would benefit from further analysis.

This project continues a series starting in 2011-12.


Main issues to be addressed

Reviews explore the national and local context in selected areas to assess strengths and weaknesses in domains relevant for the establishment and consolidation of social enterprises and other social entrepreneurial entities such as:


 Skills provision: The generic and specific skill sets demanded by social enterprises, both by managers and by the workforce generally, require identification and appropriate provision made. Therefore, it is necessary to consider what skills are needed within social enterprises, what barriers exist to the development of these skills, and how they can be overcome. The role of policy in helping social enterprises meet their skills requirements is also examined.


Infrastructure and support structure: Social enterprises require support structures which are effective in recognising their ‘different way of doing businesses. Accordingly, considering what support structures exist for social enterprises, their efficacy, and how such structures can be enhanced, alongside what role the public sector has in this area, is an integral part of the review.


Getting the business support framework right: This theme addresses how to develop appropriate policy structures, which should encourage rather than crowd out private sector involvement in business support. 


Finance: Access to finance is critical to the creation and development of social enterprises. However, social enterprises frequently confront difficulties in finding the financial support they require throughout their life cycle. The financial needs of social enterprises, and how a range of innovative and appropriate financial tools can be put in place to support them, are considered during the review


 Access to markets: Operating on the market effectively is a challenge for any social enterprise. Identifying the obstacles which may exist to enable social enterprises to access markets, including procurement opportunities, along with considerations as to how to overcome them, is central to the development and sustainability of social enterprises and is a key focus of the review.


Governance: Involving social enterprises (and other social economy organisations) in the development and co-construction of policy has been shown to make policy more efficacious in its implementation. What governance structures are in place to facilitate that collaborative approach to policy making and how they can be strengthened is an important area for exploration.



Reviews are undertaken at local level to explore these issues comprising the following components: 

  • A questionnaire is completed by policy makers at national and local level to identify local social entrepreneurship policy approaches, including a self-assessment tool to compare these policies against a set of international best practice benchmarks.

  • An international peer review visit is undertaken to validate and deepen the self-assessment, to contrast local experiences with other countries and to develop policy options. 

  • A policy development roundtable is held with stakeholders to discuss the report and to prepare an action plan for further policy development.
  • There is the possibility to hold a capacity building seminar following the preparation of the Action Plan.



Each review results in concrete policy analysis and recommendations to the national and local levels accompanied by a policy development Action Plan and international learning models.


Read also the Policy Brief on Social entrepreneurship


Available in English, French and German.





For further information about the project please contact Antonella Noya at the OECD Secretariat.


NOTE: Policy innovation projects address important issues in the implementation of the LEED mandate. In 2013-14, building more and better quality jobs requires us to provide ways to make our training and education systems more flexible and agile locally; make skills systems greener to facilitate the seizing of green growth opportunities; build evidence at the level of local labour markets; tackle disadvantage in a context of resource rarefaction locally; adapt local economic strategies to an ageing labour market; nurture more inclusive entrepreneurship; and accelerate local growth.


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