The ESF promoting social entrepreneurship and social innovation

The European Commission is committed to promote social entrepreneurship and social innovation notably by using the European Social Fund (ESF). Social innovation is mentioned in the Article 9 of the current ESF regulation, which allows for both experimentation and mainstreaming of social innovation across ESF actions. The support provided by the European Social Fund can take many forms, such as training, mentoring, business-support services, giving access to finance and creating learning environments where stakeholders can develop new ways of tackling societal challenges. This support will continue during the 2021-2027 programming period under the ESF+.

Between 2015 and 2019, transnational cooperation and the ESF Thematic Network on Social Economy looked at the transfer of ESF-funded good practices. In Belgium, the Flemish organisation “Job&Co” supports social enterprises by uniting the expertise of three of them to help long-term unemployed, people with disabilities and recent immigrants to find a stable job and more importantly, to develop the necessary skills required for this particular job.
More details about this initiative can be found here: [ ] Another example is the project “Local actions for the social inclusion of vulnerable groups in the Municipality of Fyli” in Greece, which, between 2012 and 2015, gave support to unemployed people from disadvantaged social groups so that they could establish their own businesses while also regenerating public spaces that were used as waste disposal sites. More information about this ESF-funded project are available here: [ ]
For an overview of the contribution of ESF to social innovation in the current programming period, see the 2018 Final Report on the ESF support to social innovation: [ ] Other examples of ESF support to social entrepreneurship are available here: [ ]


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