Social Economy and Innovation

Social economy and social innovation contribute to create more inclusive, creative and sustainable societies and economies. How? By providing innovative solutions to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals, communities and places while addressing socio-economic and environmental challenges, including those emerging with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Promoting Social Economy Ecosystems

In 2020, the OECD launched the Global Action “Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems”, funded by the European Union’s Foreign Partnership Instrument, to support the development and internationalisation of the social and solidarity economy.

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Social Economy

Social economy organisations traditionally refer to the set of associations, cooperatives, mutual organisations, and foundations whose activity is driven by values of solidarity, the primacy of people over capital, and democratic and participative governance. 

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Social Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprises

Social entrepreneurship is the process through which specific types of actors – the “social entrepreneurs” – create and develop organisations that may be either social enterprises or other types of organisations. 

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Social Innovation

Social innovation refers to the design and implementation of new solutions that imply conceptual, process, product, or organisational change, which ultimately aim to improve the welfare and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

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Tackling informality with the social economy

The OECD is working with Colombia to explore how the social economy can help transition workers from unprotected jobs to formal employment.

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What can the social economy teach us about never wasting a good crisis?

We spoke with policy makers and social entrepreneurs at the sidelines of the OECD Social and Solidarity Summit on 20-21 March 2023.

See all social economy videos


Podcast | Pink-collar jobs: New shades for the social economy

The social economy can help boost prospects for women… and men. One of the big problems in tackling gender equality is breaking down gender stereotypes that drive women into what have often been called “pink collar jobs”. These are jobs like childcare, education, personal and household services, plus social work.

Nitya Nangalia from SEWA Bharat and Natalie Laechelt from the OECD unpack the role of the social economy in the quest to move beyond pink collar jobs.

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The reuse revolution: How social enterprises are leading the way

The 30 March, 2023 marked the first-ever International Day of Zero Waste. It provided an opportunity to reflect on our consumption patterns. But also on how to support those who are working to reuse, repair, and recycle to prevent waste. In this, social economy enterprises have been leading the way for decades.

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Assess your social entrepreneurship ecosystem

The interactive Webtool on Social Entrepreneurship allows you to assess whether current policies and programmes enable and support social enterprises to start -up and scale -up. The assessment includes seven modules with thought-provoking question statements, covering different action areas within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Start your assessment here


All Publications

*The publications marked with an asterisk have been produced with the financial support of the European Union.


International guides

The Global Action funded by the European Union to “Promote Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems” in more than 30 countries in 2020-2023 which lead to the publication of two international guides.



Thematic papers


Other reports providing guidance for policy makers:


Milestone publications

The publications provide foundational knowledge on the historical development of the field of non-profit sector, the social economy and social entrepreneurship. The research notably highlights their contribution to local development and examines the critical areas where further support is needed to unlock the potential of these organisations. Policy recommendations are provided for national and local policy makers along with a set of international best practices.

In-depth policy reviews

Social Entrepreneurship in Europe: In-depth country reviews

The reviews aim to help policy makers at national, regional and local levels to improve the ecosystems for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development. They analyse the policy framework for social entrepreneurship and social enterprises and develop tailored and actionable policy recommendations. 


In-depth reviews on social economy

A series of policy reviews examines the policies of selected countries and regions to support the social economy, and provides tailored recommendations to promote and enhance the contribution of these organisations to job creation and social inclusion at the local level.


Policy briefs

A series of policy briefs examines issues and policies related to social entrepreneurship, such as social impact measurement and scaling up. The main goal of these briefs is to provide concrete examples of successful and tailored policies and practices that can provide inspiration for future policy design.




This compendium derives policy lessons for boosting social enterprises from the analysis of 20 initiatives in several EU member-countries, covering a range of policy areas from legal frameworks, finance, market access, and support structures, to education and skills.


Working papers

The Working Papers describe preliminary results or research in progress by the author(s) and are published to stimulate discussion on topics ranging from social innovation, social entrepreneurship, social economy organisations, and social enterprises.


Workshop highlights



Capacity building & Peer learning

Social entrepreneurship policy toolkit

 Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool

This OECD/EC online policy tool aims to help policy makers to design, implement and assess strategies, policies and programmes to boost social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development through a self-assessment, dedicated guidance material and good practices examples. For more information, click here.

  • Ambassador’s Network

The Ambassadors Network was launched in 2020 to raise awareness about the Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool among key inclusive and social entrepreneurship policy stakeholders. Ambassadors are building a community of users across the EU with the aim of increasing the use of the tool in the policy development process and fostering the development of good practices in inclusive and social entrepreneurship policy in all EU Member States.


Capacity building seminars and workshops

Seminars are held for policy makers and relevant stakeholders to facilitate mutual learning and build capacity in order to assess their ecosystem for social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social economy and reflect on the best policy approaches to support the organisations in these fields to develop. If you are interested in a workshop, please contact [email protected]

Examples of workshops


Peer-learning partnerships

The Global Action, funded by the European Union to “Promote Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems” in more than 30 countries in 2020-2022 will lead to peer-learning partnerships. These will be developed among countries to exchange knowledge and experiences on the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social entrepreneurship.


Here you will find an overview of all upcoming and past events.











  • Favoriser le développement de l’économie sociale et solidaire et de l’entrepreneuriat social : ce que nous disent les études de l’OCDE | 14 June 2019 | Conseil Supérieur de l’Économie Sociale et Solidaire, France


  • Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool: Belarus workshop in cooperation with the Global Relations Secretariat (GRS, OECD) | 12 June 2019 | Minsk, Belarus