Boosting jobs, growth and investment is one of the main priorities of the European Union. Inline with this goal, the European Commission considers entrepreneurship to be a powerful tool ingetting Europe growing again and increasing the number of jobs without creating new debt.
Social entrepreneurs and social enterprises are drivers of change that operate on the basis of viable business models. Social enterprises develop innovative approaches, models or practices for resolving societal challenges in an entrepreneurial way to promote inclusive, socially fair and environmentally sustainable economic development and social change. Their economic operations cover a broad spectrum of activities including,among others, social and economic integration of services for vulnerable and most-at-risk persons, social services of general interest, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and wastes, or producing renewable energy.
Thus, social enterprises can help meeting the Europe 2020 targets for employment, R&D / innovation, climate change / energy, education and poverty/social exclusion
However, lack of or poor access to finance is still perceived as one of the most significant barriers for starting up a social enterprise, ensuring its sustainability and growth. The funding system for social enterprises is underdeveloped in relation to the one used by other businesses and the demand of social enterprises for capital is not met in most parts of Europe.