Eurada News nº386 - March 2019

Scoping Paper

AGORADA is designed to deliver in one day, what the participants and their institutions can achieve only in weeks of work. AGORADA helps exchange, network and make the most of current and upcoming opportunities for social enterprises and related ecosystems. The unique concentration of high-level guests from European institutions, umbrella organisations, consultancies and of course development agencies and social enterprises makes this international conference an event with tremendous potential.

EURADA organises this edition of AGORADA in partnership with the association “Social Economy Europe” and the regional partnership of social economy of the Industrial Modernisation Platform led by the Region of Navarra. We expect over 100 participants at Residence Palace, in Bruxelles on March 26. In the short chapters below, we are pleased to give you more insights into the scoping paper prepared for AGORADA, and the conference agenda.

We kindly remind you to register for AGORADA at:


Why theory matters

 Development agencies agree over the key role played by social enterprises for our territories, however policies, programmes, and structures to support these actors considerably differ across Europe. This is why EURADA gathers around the same table regional practitioners, experts, and policy-makers in order to discuss the state of art of social enterprises as well as challenges and solutions to help them develop and flourish.

Let’s start with basics, social enterprises are an operator of the social economy. According to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) there are 2,8 million social economy enterprises and organisations in the European Union, which employ 13,6 million people and account for 8% of the EU’s GDP. Social economy refers to a diversity of subjects, such as cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, paritarian institutions of social protection, and of course social enterprises that are united by common values and characteristics, such as primacy of people over capital, democratic governance and reinvestment of most the profits/surpluses to carry out sustainable development objectives.


Social enterprises are agents of inclusive growth and democratisation of the economic and social spheres. They combine social goals with entrepreneurial activity while addressing socio-economic challenges in innovative ways. Social enterprises also proved resilient to economic adversity: between 2008 and 2014 in Italy and Belgium their employees grew at a rate of 20% and 12%, while the mainstream enterprises underwent a deep crisis. Social enterprises are natural allies for governments, as their primary goal is to improve service delivery and the lives of the most vulnerable individuals  with little to no strain on public resources. However, in many countries, governments still do not put in place public policies able to unlock and exploit the full potential of social enterprises and the whole social economy.
This scoping paper highlights some of the key challenges hindering social enterprises to flourish, and provides an overview of regional programmes with proven records to tackle these. At the conclusion, it deals with the dilemma, if in spite of some intrinsic specificities social enterprises should be considered by policy-makers, and thus supported by development instruments, in the same way of mainstream enterprises.

To continue to read the scoping paper please click here.


Speakers, facts and structure of this high-level conference on the social economy sector             

AGORADA gathers practitioners, experts and policy makers to jointly discuss how policies, programmes and structures can make a difference to support social enterprises. DG GROW, DG EMPL and DG JUST are some of the European institutions participating in AGORADA2019. This event makes it possible to explore relevant initiatives and programmes of the European Commission to support social enterprises and related ecosystem across territories in Europe. AGORADA encompasses presentations, debates and interactive exchanges, and covers a wide array of topics relevant for the social economy sector: How can we support social economy enterprises to start-up & scale-up, access to finance and internationalise? What are the lessons learnt of the social economy sector in Europe and in the US? How can we manage diversity in social enterprises? etc.

The final agenda of AGORADA is released at the beginning of March at the official AGORADA 2019 web page.