Mapping legal forms & legal statuses

Legal Concept Maps

Social Enterprise: Mapping Legal Forms and Statuses Across Europe

The maps on this page seek to demonstrate the legal and regulatory landscape of social enterprises across Europe. They provide a visual picture of how different legal forms and legal statuses in different countries are related to each other, and how they relate to the concept of “social enterprise”.

Our hope is to maintain and update legal concept maps for each European country, to enable more accurate and informed dialogue and policy to support the legal development of social enterprise in Europe.

The maps provide a conceptual framework for the purposes of easy comparison only and are not intended to represent a comprehensive understanding of these different legal concepts. For a detailed explanation of the context and background to the maps, please click here.

In compiling the Legal Concept Maps for different countries, a number of judgements have been made about how best to complete the maps, which is in some cases a matter of interpretation. These Legal Concept Maps should therefore be regarded as a useful starting point. Further work is needed to comprehensively map the differences between the different countries.

We welcome and encourage feedback on the accuracy of the maps, which should be sent to info@esela.eu.

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A Co-operative with a social purpose

A Co-operative with a social purpose would fall within this area, as it is likely to fulfil the SBI definition of Social Enterprise.

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A Co-operative without a social purpose

A Co-operative without a social purpose falls in this area shaded grey, as the SBI definition of Social Enterprise requires a social purpose.

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A Non-Profit Trading, Social Co-operative

A Non-Profit, trading, Social Co-operative however, would fulfil the definition of Social Enterprise and is represented by the grey shaded area.

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A trading Non-Profit Company

A Non-Profit Company which trades would fall somewhere within the grey shaded area. As you can see, it may fulfil the definition of ‘Social Enterprise’ but not necessarily – this depends on whether it has a social purpose.

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An Integration Enterprise with Co-operative Legal Form

The grey area shows an Integration Enterprise with a Co-operative Legal Form.

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France

An “Entreprise de I’ESS” is a legally recognised adaptation of the for-profit Company Legal Form available to for-profit companies and Integration Enterprises which fit within the SBI definition of Social Enterprise. The ESUS (entreprise solidaire d’utilité sociale) is a Legal Status which is available to Co-operatives, Foundations, Associations and Companies which meet certain criteria. An SCIC is a legally recognised adaptation of the Co-operatives which fit within the SBI definition of Social Enterprise. The ESUS/ESS Enterprise Statuses become available on 1 January 2016 and their interpretation may be subject to debate and change.

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Greece

An inclusion KINSEP is a Non-Profit Co-operative which is an Integration Enterprise. A KINSEP for collective and product purpose is a Non-Profit Co-operative which fits within the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise. A social care KINSEP is also a Non-Profit Co-operative which fits within the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise. A KISPE is a Co-operative which can be either for-profit or Non-Profit and fits within the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise. A KISPE can also be an Integration Enterprise.

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Integration Enterprises

The space inside the orange circle represents the universe of Integration Enterprises, which overlaps and intersects with each of the four quadrants for the four different Legal Forms. The universe of Integration Enterprises is included within the red circle, as Integration Enterprises are a subset of the Social Enterprises which conform to the SBI definition.

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Italy

A Social Enterprise ex-Lege is a Legal Status which applies to Non-Profit Organisations which are structured as an Association, a Foundation, a Company or a Co-operative. A Legal Form with this status may be an Integration Enterprise or fit within the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise but equally it may not. An A-Type Social Co-operative is a Co-operative which is a for-profit Integration Enterprise which fits within the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise. A B-Type Social Co-operative is a for-profit Co-operative which fits within the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise but is not an Integration Enterprise.

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Legal Concept Map Venn Diagram

This is the Venn diagram which forms the basis of the Legal Concept Maps. Inside the square is the universe of the four key Legal Forms, which comprises four separate quadrants: Associations (the top left quadrant), Foundations (the top right quadrant), Co-operatives (the bottom right quadrant) and Companies (the bottom left quadrant).

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Lithuania

Social Enterprise Status can apply to Integration Enterprises which are for-profit or Non-Profit Companies or Co-operatives.

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Non-Profit

The space inside the blue box represents the universe of Non-Profit Organisations, which includes all Associations and Foundations and a small number of Co-operatives and Companies, including some Social Enterprises and some Integration Enterprises.

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Non-Profit trading Integration Enterprises

Non-Profit, trading, Integration Enterprises could fall anywhere within the grey shaded area.

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Non-Profit which does not trade

A Non-Profit Organisation which does not trade falls within the grey shaded area, as an organisation must trade to be included within  the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise.

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Slovakia

Social Enterprise Status can apply to Integration Enterprises which are Associations, Foundations, for-profit or Non-Profit Companies and for-profit or Non-Profit Co-operatives.

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Slovenia

A Type A Social Enterprise is an enterprise that is not an Integration Enterprise but can be an Association, Foundation, Company or Co-operative. If a Type A Social Enterprise is a Company or Co-operative it must fit within the SBI definition of Social Enterprise. A Type B Social Enterprise can be an Association, Foundation, Company or Co-operative and must be an Integration Enterprise.

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Social Enterprises per SBI definition

The space inside the red circle represents the universe of those social enterprises which conform to the SBI definition of a Social Enterprise. This circle overlaps and intersects with each of the four quadrants for the four different Legal Forms.

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Spain

A Special Employment Centre can be an Association, Foundation, Company or Co-operative and fits within the definition of Integration Enterprise. A social Co-operative initiative is a Non-Profit Co-operative which fits within the SBI definition of Social Enterprise and can be an Integration Enterprise. A Social Integration Enterprise is an Integration Enterprise which can be either a for-profit Company or a for-profit Co-operative.

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UK

To qualify for ‘social investment tax relief’ in the UK, an organisation must be an Association, Foundation, Company or Co-operative carrying out a qualifying trade.

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