Glossary


Social economy is a third sector among economies between the private (business) and public sectors (government). It includes organizations such as cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, social enterprises and charities. Social economy implies that social goals are more important than economic – the social objectives are achieved in an economically viable way.

Social entrepreneurship, in opposite to private enterprises, does not aim to maximize profit, but solve different problems in the society. Schools, hospitals, internet, lighting, roads, bridges, Wikipedia… are the results of social entrepreneurs.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of companies for the impact they have on society (European Commission). CSR is a positive influence that companies make to the society and the environment through its operations, products or services, or through interaction with key stakeholders such as employees, customers, investors, communities and suppliers (Business in the Community – BITC).

Entrepreneurship is the mindset and process to create and develop economic activity by building risk-taking, creativity and/or innovation with sound manage- ment, within a new or an existing organization. (European Commission, “Green Paper” in 2003)

Social entrepreneurship is part of the social economy and it occurs when social problems are solved by using entrepreneurial principles. It is an innovative way for people to solve various economic, educational, health and environmental problems in their community through their work – by joining and using sustainable business models (SENS, Social Economy Network Serbia). Every enterprise aims to create new value. Social entrepreneurship is unique since it deals with identifying and solving social problems such as social exclusion, poverty, unemployment, etc. Unlike traditional entrepreneurship, whose primary objective is profit maximization, the focus of social entrepreneurship is to meet the needs of the society.

For us, a social enterprise is every business with a social purpose that reinvests its profits in creation of a new value in the society. 

Social enterprise is a business created to archive a social purpose in a financially sustainable way. It operates with idea to invest its profit in achieving a clear social mission. This means that the acquired funds do not serve for maximizing the assets of individuals – they are invested in social purposes such as employment of vulnerable, social and medical services, education, environmental protection or cultural activities in the community.

Social entrepreneur is starting and the most important subject of social entrepreneurial venture. This is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and lead project with a social purpose. Social entrepreneurs run by a desire to help other people and improve living conditions in their community or the world. They are visionaries dedicated to solving social problems. They are active in civil society organizations, but also work in the private and public sector, achieving significant impact on society.

Social enterprises combine societal goals with entrepreneurial spirit. These organisations focus on achieving wider social, environmental or community objectives. The European Commission aims to create a favourable financial, administrative and legal environment for these enterprises so that they can operate on an equal footing with other types of enterprises in the same sector. The Social Business Initiative launched in 2011 identified actions to make a real difference and improve the situation on the ground for social enterprises. (European Commission)