Social entrepreneurship in Germany: framework conditions are not optimal, but they are getting better
Apr 08, 2019

Social entrepreneurship in Germany: framework conditions are not optimal, but they are getting better

While countries like Great Britain and France actively engage in financially supporting and stimulating the social entrepreneurs, in Germany, the framework conditions for this target group are not optimal (see Drucksache 19/6844, 2019). According to the Federal Government, social entrepreneurship includes “all enterprises, economic associations and foundations whose business model is directed towards solving social challenges with entrepreneurial means” (ibid, pg. 2). However, Germany is one of the few countries in Europe that does not have an official definition of social entrepreneurship, so it is up to each Federal State how it defines it and how they implement and develop new programmes and initiatives.

So, being aware of the constraints that the social start-ups are facing in Germany, the coalition parties have announced a stronger support. Even if there are no concrete measures that are to follow yet, the fact that the social entrepreneurs are explicitly included in the coalition agreement is an important step.

To the questions of the parliamentary group on how the social entrepreneurs are going to be supported and encouraged and what concrete measures are planned for 2019, the Federal Government has listed a series of measures, initiatives and strategies (see Drucksache 19/6844, 2019). Some of the initiatives and measures have been already part of the federal government’s promotional and advisory services and some others have been newly developed. For example, ERP start-up loan – StartGeld, EXIST, micromezzanine funds, ERP-VC fund investment, the KfW programme “IKU – Investitionskredit Kommunale und Soziale Unternehmen”, the “Generationsbrücke Deutschland” (2014 to 2019), which currently involves more than 200 cooperation partners (nursing homes for elderly, day-care centres for children and schools), “Social Innovations in Welfare” (2018 to 2020), „Selbst ist die Frau“ (2019-2020) as well as the online portals www.existenzgruender.de and www.gruenderplattform.de.

As a conclusion, it can be said, that all these efforts, even if they are small in numbers, show that the German Federal Government has acknowledged the importance of the social entrepreneurs within the social market economy, as they tackle social issues with often innovative entrepreneurial solutions. Entrepreneurial thinking combined with social added value, acts in many cases as important bridges between civil society, business and politics.

References: http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/19/072/1907293.pdf

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