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Business opportunities for the socially excluded

Even in the most thriving Europeans regions social exclusion is a persistent problem. Too many people live and earn well below their potential, suffering economically and through a lack of self-esteem. The Social on Business project was created to help generate business and entrepreneurial opportunities for the socially excluded, bringing them into the mainstream of society, improving their sense of well-being and contributing to the welfare of society at large.

Social on Business is a unit of the Inclusive Growth pillar of the GROW programme, working on the development of social enterprises and creating a model of entrepreneurship for the socially excluded. Social enterprise complements broad EU goals by reducing people’s reliance on state benefit payments, contributing to the development of local communities and helping individuals and families improve their social and economic status.

The project is led by Spain’s Fundación Red Andalucía Emprende, in partnership with Polish, Italian and UK organisations. It works with local authorities and branches of the public sector, NGOs and socially responsible companies in the private sector to promote social integration and assistance. The partners have carried out a comprehensive analysis of the social, territorial and labour environment in their regions, determining the factors that lead to social exclusion and encouraging exchanges of best practice and experience to counter it.

The development of a training and awareness programme for advisers and stakeholders is a key feature of the project, with the team encouraging and guiding people at risk of social exclusion to take up entrepreneurial activity. In Andalucía, Social on Business has become a focal point for the regional Department of Social Economy and Entrepreneurship as it represents a way to learn from foreign expertise and experience.

Four seminars have been held in the UK, Spain, Italy and Poland aimed at raising awareness of the problems that disadvantaged people face when setting up their own businesses. Following a common structure proposed by the Polish partner, each partner condensed their regional reports into a 10-page document for publication. A number of social enterprises have been started up across partner regions.

“We have seen five business start-ups, four inside deprived areas, and a host of business plans,” said Rafael González of Fundación Red Andalucía Emprende. “The cooperation we have established with local authorities and organisations has been very fruitful.”

Project partners are convinced that the research and activities of the project, and the contacts made with local authorities and NGOs, will positively influence future public and private sector policy-making in the area of social enterprise and social welfare in general.

“Social enterprise complements broad EU goals…contributing to the development of local communities and helping individuals and families improve their social and economic status.”


Rafael González Martos

Fundación Red Andalucía Emprende

Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa

Junta de Andalucía

C/ Párroco Antonio Gómez Villalobos, 85

41006 Sevilla, Spain

Tel: +34 954787271