The Legal Network for Social Impact

About Esela

Who we are

Esela – The Legal Network for Social Impact is a global community.

We are an international network of people who are reshaping legal systems and practice for good.

Our network of lawyers, advisors, academics and entrepreneurs is working to create a sustainable economy that promotes positive social impact. We are interested in social impact law, applied to social enterprise, impact investing, profit with purpose business, social procurement, not for profits, and co-operatives and mutuals.

Our aim is to promote a better understanding of the law in these practice areas, and to support the development and growth of social impact law for the benefit of society as a whole.

Our members range from law firms and academic institutions to specialist individuals.

In April 2013, the European Commission asked the consultants ICF and the UK law firm Bates Wells to undertake a study to map the shape and nature of social enterprise activity in 29 European countries as part of its flagship ‘Social Business Initiative’.

The idea of Legal Network for Social Impact developed naturally from the mapping study, as it became clear that no such network of experts existed. At a roundtable event hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels in January 2015, it was agreed that Esela should be established.

Our current board members are Luke Fletcher (President), Roberto Randazzo (President-Elect), Julie Wynne (Vice President-Elect), Marleen Denef, Anne Contreras, Alissa Pelatan, and Katerina Hadzi-Miceva. The board are experts in social impact law from the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Macedonia respectively.

Esela was originally named the ‘European Social Enterprise Law Association’.

In March 2017, the decision was taken that the scope of interest of Esela should be expanded to include the following:

  • Social enterprise
  • Not for profits
  • Co-operatives and mutuals
  • Impact investing
  • Profit with purpose business
  • Social procurement

In November 2018, the European Social Enterprise Law Association (ESELA) changed its name to ‘Esela -The Legal Network for Social Impact’ to more closely reflect the expertise of its network. For full details, click here.

What we do

Esela seeks to provide a forum for thought leadership, collaboration, networking and knowledge-sharing.

We also:

•     monitor social impact legal developments in Europe and beyond
•     produce and exchange resources on social impact and the law
•     undertake and publish research and analysis on social impact legal issues
•     inform policy and legal development with respect to social impact
•     host and organise debates, presentations, conferences and other events
•     work with partners on projects related to law and social impact

We hope to play a key role in the development of the social impact economy across Europe. Esela has the potential to be an important source of knowledge and expertise that can highlight and share good practice, help member states learn from each other and make recommendations about the effect of EU wide laws and policies on social enterprises.

If you’d like to know more about Esela and its work, we’d be delighted to hear from you, particularly if your organisation is interested in creating partnerships and collaborating with us.

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