Social Economy and Innovation

Social economy and social innovation contribute to create more inclusive, creative and sustainable societies and economies. How? By providing innovative solutions to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals, communities and places while addressing socio-economic and environmental challenges, including those emerging with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.



Social Economy

Social economy organisations traditionally refer to the set of associations, cooperatives, mutual organisations, and foundations whose activity is driven by values of solidarity, the primacy of people over capital, and democratic and participative governance. 

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Social Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprises

Social entrepreneurship is the process through which specific types of actors – the “social entrepreneurs” – create and develop organisations that may be either social enterprises or other types of organisations. 

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Social Innovation

Social innovation refers to the design and implementation of new solutions that imply conceptual, process, product, or organisational change, which ultimately aim to improve the welfare and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

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Addressing informality through the social economy

The OECD is launching a new project aiming to support countries, regions and cities in addressing informality through the social economy.

Download the project flyer


Read more about OECD work on the SSE and informality


Tell us about the social and solidarity econmoy in your country

We spoke with policy makers and social entrepreneurs to ask them about the social and solidarity economy in their country.

See all social economy videos


Podcast | Can the social economy help refugees access jobs?

According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022. With Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, Europe has seen the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War with more than 6 million people fleeing Ukraine. This is a big challenge for refugee protection and reception systems. This podcast discusses how the social and solidarity economy can fast track the labour-market integration of refugees and migrants.

Guests: Anne Kjaer-Bathel: Co-founder and CEO of ReDI School of Digital Integration, Berlin Thomas Liebig, Principal Administrator, OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs
Host: Christine Langenbucher.

Listen to the podcast


VOLUNTEERING FOR CHANGE: How to mobilise volunteers to drive local developement

Volunteers are the hidden heroes of our societies. Today is International Volunteer Day, which provides an opportunity to celebrate their role in shaping our communities.  It is also an opportunity to ask ourselves how we can encourage, mobilise and steer volunteer efforts to drive the social economy  and local development more generally.

See all social economy blogs


Assess your social entrepreneurship ecosystem

The interactive Webtool on Social Entrepreneurship allows you to assess whether current policies and programmes enable and support social enterprises to start -up and scale -up. The assessment includes seven modules with thought-provoking question statements, covering different action areas within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Start your assessment here


All Publications

*The publications marked with an asterisk have been produced with the financial support of the European Union.




In-depth policy reviews

Social Entrepreneurship in Europe: In-depth country reviews

The reviews aim to help policy makers at national, regional and local levels to improve the ecosystems for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development. They analyse the policy framework for social entrepreneurship and social enterprises and develop tailored and actionable policy recommendations. 


In-depth reviews on social economy

A series of policy reviews examines the policies of selected countries and regions to support the social economy, and provides tailored recommendations to promote and enhance the contribution of these organisations to job creation and social inclusion at the local level.

Capacity building & Peer learning

Social entrepreneurship policy toolkit

 Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool

This OECD/EC online policy tool aims to help policy makers to design, implement and assess strategies, policies and programmes to boost social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development through a self-assessment, dedicated guidance material and good practices examples. For more information, click here.

  • Ambassador’s Network

The Ambassadors Network was launched in 2020 to raise awareness about the Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool among key inclusive and social entrepreneurship policy stakeholders. Ambassadors are building a community of users across the EU with the aim of increasing the use of the tool in the policy development process and fostering the development of good practices in inclusive and social entrepreneurship policy in all EU Member States.


Capacity building seminars and workshops

Seminars are held for policy makers and relevant stakeholders to facilitate mutual learning and build capacity in order to assess their ecosystem for social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social economy and reflect on the best policy approaches to support the organisations in these fields to develop. If you are interested in a workshop, please contact

Examples of workshops


Peer-learning partnerships

The Global Action, funded by the European Union to “Promote Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems” in more than 30 countries in 2020-2022 will lead to peer-learning partnerships. These will be developed among countries to exchange knowledge and experiences on the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social entrepreneurship.


Here you will find an overview of all upcoming and past events.











  • Favoriser le développement de l’économie sociale et solidaire et de l’entrepreneuriat social : ce que nous disent les études de l’OCDE | 14 June 2019 | Conseil Supérieur de l’Économie Sociale et Solidaire, France


  • Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool: Belarus workshop in cooperation with the Global Relations Secretariat (GRS, OECD) | 12 June 2019 | Minsk, Belarus

























  • 24 November, How can the social and solidarity economy help refugees along their journey? Watch the replay
  • 27 October, webinar: Platform cooperatives: Good jobs and great places Watch the replay
  • 20 - 21 March, Hybrid Summit: Inspiration, innovation and inclusion: Shaping our future with the social and solidarity economy | Watch the replay | Highlights


  • 22 November, webinar: Social entrepreneurship meets the common good economy | Watch the replay in German
  • 16 November, webinar: Launch of the OECD Recommendation on the Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation | Watch the replay 
  • 9 November, webinar: Unlocking the potential of youth-led social enterprises | Watch the replay
  • 15-17 June, conference: OECD Local Development Forum | Several sessions on the social economy | Watch the replay
  • 4 June, conference: Trento Economy Festival session "What is the role of the social economy? | Discover the programme
  • 24 March, virtual event: OECD March on Gender webinar: Advancing gender equality through the social economy | Watch the replay



  • 2 December, virtual event: Mainstreaming the Social and Solidarity Economy: Perspectives from the Peer-learning Partnerships | Watch the replay
  • 13-16 September, virtual event: The Social and Solidarity Economy: From the Margins to the Mainstream | Watch the replayHighlights
  • 20 May, virtual event: OECD Global Action: international learning opportunities for the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) through the Peer Learning Partnerships
  • 25 January, virtual event: Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy | Watch the replayHighlights



  • 10 December, virtual event:  Leveraging Legal Frameworks to Scale the Social and Solidarity Economy | Watch the replayHighlights
  • 16 April, virtual event: OECD Global Action to promote the social and solidarity economy | Watch the replay