Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Conference on "Social Enterprises in an Evolving Economy: From Non-Profit Organisations to Social Enterprises", Bucharest, Romania, 13 June 2007


Background information

Social enterprises and non-profit organisations are gaining visibility and achieving positive results in the struggle against poverty and exclusion in OECD Member and non-member countries. Governments use them as part of their active labour market programmes and social policy tools, mainly targeted at disadvantaged populations. Local authorities also support creation and development of social enterprises to pursue social inclusion objectives at local level, and often work in partnership with them and other forms of non-profit organisations for the delivery of social, welfare and community services.

In some countries where social enterprises are well-established, new developments have occurred recently, with potentially large impacts on the future of social enterprises. New legislation has been enacted in Italy and the United Kingdom, opening up new avenues for social enterprises. The outcomes of these reforms are of great interest to many countries where social enterprises have not reached the same degree of maturity.

For countries less well-acquainted with social enterprises, such as countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the emergence and use of this instrument of social inclusion still raise challenges. Important progress is being made with civil society development and civic engagement, which are key ingredients for social enterprise development, but much remains to be done. As a result, social enterprises are not as effective as they could be and their potential in bridging social and economic goals and increasing democratic participation is not fully exploited.

The Event

This international conference was organised by the OECD LEED Programme, the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of SMEs, Trade, Tourism and Liberal Professions in partnership with World Learning for International Development, the Civil Society Development Foundation and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law with the support of USAID.

This event discussed the current policy framework and recent developments pertinent to social enterprises in the OECD, and explored the potential of social enterprises in Central and Eastern European countries and in Romania in particular. Special attention was paid to ways to create an enabling environment for social enterprises.

The conference also focused on the role of the social enterprise sector in delivering social services and on the crucial aspect of financing non-profit organisations committed to the welfare mix. The event was a unique opportunity to discuss social enterprises’ new developments and to challenge their evolution in OECD Member and non-member countries.

Download the Agenda.

Download speakers' presentations.

Download the summary report on "Social Enterprise in an Evolving Economy: from Non-Profit Organizations to Social Enterprises".

For further information, contact [email protected].


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