What is Social Enterprise?

We are defining social enterprise as businesses that have clear ethics and values, a social purpose, are democratically managed and distribute the wealth they create fairly. 

A social enterprise is a business that seek to maximize profits while maximizing benefits to society and the environment. 

We define the social economy as the sector in which all social enterprises work and prosper. This also includes the legal and social frameworks under which social enterprise work. 

The concept of social enterprise developed around the cooperative movement in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. However, there is no clear historical timeline of social enterprise established yet because the concept of it can be found throughout the ages.


Who are we?

Welcome to ESEN Network, a European Network of Social Enterprises across Europe.

The Network is an initiative of the Erasmus+ project, ESEN: European Social Economy Network Programme (Project number: 2019-1-PL01-KA202-065024). 

The ESEN NETWORK gives the possibility to potential social entrepreneurs and existing social enterprises to gain visibility and promote their organisations at a European scale. The gained visibility will allow organisations to create synergies and expand their operations by linking with other networks. The NETWORK offers various features which will enable potential social entrepreneurs and existing social enterprises to exchange knowledge, experiences and share latest news in the social entrepreneurship.

Learn more


The ESEN NETWORK aims to:

  1. bring together social enterprises across the EU
  2. support potential entrepreneurs who want to set up a social enterprise by offering networking prospects and capacity building opportunities.
  3. Facilitate sharing of good practices, experiences, challenges and success stories among Social Enterprises and other relevant stakeholders (social economy organisations, SEs, young people, experts, mentors, business angels, professionals in the sector, public and private institutions, etc.)
  4. Act as a virtual pool of social entrepreneurship Mentors for supporting potential social entrepreneurs.
  5. Facilitate the organization and the promotion of relevant events, workshops, etc.


Our team

Client 1
Client 2
Client 3
Client 4
Client 5
Client 6


Some Numbers


Pilot testing experience

The case of Cyprus

The case of UK

The case of Poland

The case of Greece

Promotional videos


Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

Module 5

© 2020 ESEN | European Social Economy Network

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.