In 2011, the European Commission adopted a Communication on "Social Business Initiative". The EESC was therefore invited to propose recommendations and actions to be carried out to stimulate the development of social entrepreneurship. A public hearing took place on 28 July 2011 which focused on better defining social enterprises, facilitating access to finance and promoting a better visibility of that sector. The goal of this initiative was to involve civil society in the debate as well as to present the viewpoints of different stakeholders on that issue. These contributions have served as a basis for the discussion in the study group and have been reflected in an EESC exploratory opinion.