Marco Benini
18 June 2013

How is the Finnish social economy evolving?

Social cooperative in Finland (Photo by Kotivalo - CC rights)

A team led by Harri Kostilainen & Pekka Pättiniemi from the Finnish Network for Social Enterprise Research, has recently published a report on the concept of social economy in the country. The paper Evolution of the social enterprise concept in Finland describes the development of social enterprises in Finland through four different phases. According to the paper, social entrepreneurial activity in Finland is relatively high compared to other Nordic countries.

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Almost half of the Finnish early-stage social entrepreneurial activity is not-for-profit social entrepreneurship which emphasizes on social and or environmental goals. There is also growing social entrepreneurial potential amongst younger generation of entrepreneurs. The first chapter describes the established forms of traditional social enterprises and their role in the making of welfare state in Finland.

Subsequently, the recent major changes in the welfare state´s operational environment and the evolution of new forms of social enterprises are discussed. In the last part, the report defines the size and characteristics of Finnish social enterprises, along with factors that could enable and support the development of this sector.