New centre of expertise to support social enterprises and to help employ people with partial work ability
In its mid-term policy review, the Government decided to set up an expert unit to support the creation and growth of social enterprises. The centre of expertise’s operations will be network-based and funded by both the working capacity programme for persons with partial working ability and the European Social Fund. The aim is to organise a call for applications to enable the centre to start operations in October 2021.
The new centre of expertise will have specialised knowledge in social enterprises and will network with other operators to advance and support the establishment of social enterprises and to improve business conditions at all stages of operations. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the management and oversight of the centre.
The centre’s tasks include creating national advisory and guidance services specialising in social enterprises and introducing measures to raise awareness of the business model among experts working in business and employment services as well as in entrepreneurship education in educational institutions. Business incubator and accelerator activities will be strengthened. The aim is also to advance the effectiveness of public procurement and the use of social criteria and innovative practices, and to assess the need for new funding models and opportunities for expansion.
Finland’s first strategy for social enterprises, which has just been completed, will define the concept of social enterprise and the centre’s tasks.
The strategy adopted in the mid-term policy review aims to strengthen the operating conditions of social enterprises, increase the number and knowledge of new social enterprises and, in particular, develop their competence in effectiveness. One of the key objectives of the strategy is to employ people with partial work capacity and those who are otherwise in a difficult labour market position.
A social enterprise is a business model where the primary objective is to find solutions to a certain social challenge. While profitable, social enterprises are value-based and therefore they do not primarily aim to make a profit for their owners. Instead, the companies will direct the majority of their operating profits towards the social objective they have chosen. A social enterprise can operate in any form: association, foundation, limited liability company or cooperative.
According to a survey completed in 2020, there are approximately 1,700 social enterprises in Finland, more than half of which are organisations providing health and social services to the public sector. Their combined turnover is almost EUR 5.8 billion and they employ more than 50,000 people.
Piia Rekilä, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 396 3574 and email [email protected]
Tuija Oivo, Director General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 396 168 and email [email protected]