Associations of Citizens “Svjetionik“ / “Lighthouse“ and “ACED“ 

in cooperation with Banja Luka College

are organizing

International scientific conference on social entrepreneurship– SEC 2014


September 30, 2014 and October 1, 2014 



This Conference is supported by the European Union. Content is the sole responsibility of

the Association of Citizens ‘Svjetionik ‘ / ‘Lighthouse’ and can in no way be taken to reflect

the views of the European Union.

Alternative Economics


The concept of social entrepreneurship occurs in the late eighties of the twentieth century in Italy, but also in other EU countries. This term is associated with a number of production and business organizations whose primary purpose is not profit but the achievement of social goals. Social enterprises even when making a profit, do not distribute it on the basis of ownership, or invested capital, but it invest in strengthening the company, in order to appropriately fulfill the mission for which they were established.

In a country with a poor economy, such as BiH, social entrepreneurship is a precondition for sustainable development. In parallel with the idea of social entrepreneurship that occurs in Europe, global awareness of the need for sustainable development of mankind is growing, based on the realization of three sets of objectives: sustainable economic development, social stability and sustainable use of natural resources. While there is no single definition, in Europe the concept of social enterprise is increasingly used to identify the “different way” of doing business, which develops when the companies are specifically formed for the achievement of social objectives (Social Business Initiative (SEC (2011) 1278)). The idea of sustainable development is promoted by the United Nations and was confirmed at several international conferences, starting in Rio de Janeiro, New York and Johannesburg. This idea is now one of the globally most present political, scientific and cultural topics.

Social entrepreneurship has an important role in the realization of the concept of sustainable development. The concept of social enterprise overlaps with the traditional organizations of the social economy as an entity that operates as a social enterprise. It may be associations, co-operatives, charities and the like. Social enterprises are different from conventional companies in that they have a primary social purpose.

The social economy is not a competitor to a market economy, but in any case the social economy is its significant social corrective and supplement, primarily in terms of social integration and employment. For social enterprises profit-sharing is limited, the development financial funds are being formed, the use of which is based on the principles of solidarity and mutual aid.

Modern social or alternative economy was built on the traditional model of cooperatives. In these regions, there is a decades-long practice of cooperative unions and credit societies.

The EU has two million social enterprises, which is 10% of the total number of firms. Accounted for 6% of the employees, with 4% of GDP and have over 100 million users of services. [1] According to the results of European research network EMES (Emergence of Social Enterprise) in Europe has more than 40 different forms of association within the social economy. In doing so, the social enterprises and co-operatives are the most represented. Social enterprises may be facing a variety of social programs, and assistance to vulnerable groups such as disabled children, infirm and old, former offenders and drug addicts and others. Workers’ cooperatives and companies can be productive and market-oriented in the field of manufacturing and services. However, the most represented is a new form, the social cooperatives, which serve to meet the social needs of members of the (local) community. They are viable only with professional and financial assistance, government incentives and cooperation with the government institutions. Because of their importance, the social enterprise development policies should be integrated into strategic documents such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the National Employment Strategy, Strategy for the Development of SMEs and to be included in the reforms of social protection system.

Due to the large social needs and that a bad economic situation is mostly reflected on marginalized social groups, it is necessary to devise alternative ways of overcoming the problems of vulnerable groups, firstly unemployed and the poor. In recent decades, both in Western countries and countries in transition, social policies is increasingly reduced to new forms of economic initiatives, which on the one hand can be classified into the third sector, and on the other hand into the company, more precisely, into social enterprises. The origin and development of social economy concept dates back to the time of development of capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries when they began to form self-help groups and other associations based on humane principles.

The forerunners of social enterprises were created in terms of the difficult living conditions of workers layers that are trying to overcome the difficulties of living conditions at the time of the initial accumulation and encourage activities that were not covered by social policy. Co-operatives were rapidly expanding, which was related to the trade union movement and the emancipation of the working class.

Social enterprises in the modern form appeared in Italy in the late 1980s. Was, in a similar form are expanding rapidly in the developed countries of Europe in the nineties.

According to most authors social enterprises are located in the field of “third sector” and “nonprofit organizations”, because they have common characteristics with them, such as voluntariness of associating, formal organizational structure and autonomy in decision-making. Undertaking economic ventures and improving quality of life are specifics of social enterprises. In this way, they create new jobs and help the employment and social integration of long-term unemployed, especially the disabled, some minority groups, migrants and other marginalized classes.[2] [1], February, 2014.

[2] Defourny, J., Nyssens, M. (eds.) (2008) Social Enterprise in Europe: Recent Trends and Developments, paper EMES Research Network