According to the key findings from a 2016 public consultation carried out by the Commission: start-ups looking to scale up still face too many regulatory and administrative barriers especially in cross-border situations, for both start-ups and scale-ups too few opportunities exist for potential partners, and accessing finance is one of the biggest barrier to scaling up. In this Opinion, the EESC assesses the Commission's proposed solutions to these issues.
Europe is facing complex challenges calling for renewed social and economic models. To deliver progress, growth and wellbeing in Europe, a shift towards an innovation-based economy is needed. The EESC therefore calls on the European Commission to develop a policy framework to support these new business models emerging. The EESC calls on the Commission in the upcoming review of the Single Market strategy, due in 2017, to fully incorporate these new business models, and suggest new measures in this direction. It is crucial that Member States and the European Institutions fully recognise and promote "fairer" business models, which are centred on delivering innovation for social development by integrating social impact measurement in parallel to reporting economic progress.
Exploratory opinion requested by the Luxembourg presidency
The EESC welcomes the debate on social impact measurements for social enterprises. However it feels that an incorrect or rushed approach may counteract the EU Institutions’ aim to support the development of the social enterprise sector. The EESC therefore urges the Commission to prioritise further awareness-raising and full implementation of the Social Business Initiative agenda. It recommends that, rather than developing a new method, the Commission build awareness of the most commonly used principles.
The EESC welcomes the Commission proposal but highlights the fact that it can only be one component of dedicated financial instruments for social businesses. The Committee reminds the Commission that some elements of the proposal have to be clarified in order to allow such funds to be successful, both for the financial community and for the final beneficiaries.
The EESC welcomes the actions proposed by the Commission to develop tools to improve awareness of the sector and the visibility of social enterprise and is pleased to note that the Commission has taken on board several points from its exploratory opinion on the same issue. The EESC calls on Member States to develop national frameworks for the growth and development of that kind of enterprise.
Social enterprise is a key element of the European social model and fundamental for the success of the EU2020 strategy. By supporting and promoting social enterprise, Europe strengthens its growth and competitiveness potential and its capacity to create social value. The EESC supports the Commission's launch of a political framework and action plan to promote social enterprise in Europe. In its opinion, it stresses the importance of its implementation at both EU and Member State level as well.
Throughout a substantial number of opinions, the Strasbourg event, and the Social Entrepreneurship project, the EESC is actively involved in the Social Entrepreneurship field. As a result of this project currently undertaken by the EESC, policy directions and concrete actions will be forwarded to the new Commission and Parliament at the fall of 2014.