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Social enterprises to benefit from more advice and competence – A call for funding launched to establish a new centre of expertise

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 2.7.2021 10.30
Press release

The aim of the new centre of expertise for social enterprises is to increase the number of social enterprises in Finland and to promote the employment of people with partial work capacity at the same time. From 2 July to 31 August 2021, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will organise a call for applications for a discretionary government grant to establish a centre of excellence and for its network-based activities.

The centre’s tasks include the following:

  • to create national advisory and guidance services specialising in social enterprises
  • to systematise the collection of data and statistics on social enterprises
  • to increase the business skills and competence of social enterprises based on the effectiveness of their activities
  • to increase the scaling-up of social innovations
  • to find ways for social enterprises to gain access to the market
  • to develop national models for the employment of people with partial work capacity.

The discretionary government grant cannot be used to establish a new organisation or to finance permanent activities of an existing operator. Instead, the activities of the centre of expertise must be based on a network-like cooperation between existing operators.

A grant of EUR 3 million is available for 2021–2023. The Act on Discretionary Government Transfers and EU rules on State aid regulate the granting of funding.

Centre will implement the strategy of social enterprises

In its mid-term policy review in April 2021, the Government decided to establish a centre of expertise for social enterprises in Finland. At the same time, it adopted a strategy for social enterprises that will increase the number of and awareness on new social enterprises and develop their competences, especially in order to improve the effectiveness of their activities. 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 whose primary objective is to find solutions to a certain social challenge. Business activities should be profitable but value-based. The companies do not primarily aim to make a profit for their owners, but instead will direct the majority of their operating profits towards the social objective they have chosen. A social enterprise can be an 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. The combined turnover of social enterprises is almost EUR 5.8 billion and they employ more than 50,000 people.

Tuija Oivo, Director General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 049 040

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