05 February 2014

Theme Group Social Economy Enterprises

The theme group analyses and disseminates experiences of work integration social enterprises, we motivate and offer specific advice for improvement, based on the methods and ideas gathered from projects funded by the European Social Fund.

Our focus is on boosting know-how and influencing political decisions at municipal, district and national levels.

We collaborate with most of the agencies and organisations within the social economy.

From unemployment to sustainable entrepreneurship. Social enterprises create opportunities.

The number of work integration social enterprises is growing in Sweden and they are already a significant labour market policy. Today there are approximately 300 such enterprises, employing over 3000 people and offering almost 10,000 work experience and rehabilitation -  a way back to working life.

One of the reasons for the growth of social enterprises is that they help answer Swedish municipalities' need to solve problems for those who have been absent from the labour market for a long time. There is clearly growing interest at municipal and district levels for supporting social enterprises.

Because the sector, work integration social enterprises, is growing, there is a need to gather experiences and develop knowledge about obstacles as well as opportunities.


Ebba Sellström                

Ragnar Andersson


Project leader                        




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A few of the Theme Group's suggestions for improvement of work integration social enterprises.

  • Legitimacy and control.

Legislation and regulations need to be changed in order to support the development of work integration social enterprises.  The several different political areas and departments involved today are an obstacle to development.

  • Diversify funding.

The government should guarantee equal terms with other businesses when funding enterprises in the social economy and invest in credit guarantees and other measures like, for example, micro funds.

  • Create more jobs by procuring public contracts.

Government, parliament, districts and municipalities should devise policies and regulations that take into account social factors when public contracts are procured and that procurement is devised so that social enterprises and other small businesses are able to compete.

  • Establish structures for support.

The government, through its agencies, should ensure that there are advisers, promoters and supporting agents around the country to cover all the stages of social economy enterprises.

  • Open up for work integration social enterprises in economic and regional growth ventures.

Politicians and civil servants should be more alert to the opportunities for increased matching of big infrastructural projects with enterprises in the social economy to create more jobs.