Emphasis on supporting social enterprises in Slovakia is shifting to the regions

Social enterprises support in Slovakia is shifting to the regions.

Under the Intereg Europe-funded BRESE Action Plan, regional governments in Slovakia are beginning to see the opportunities that social enterprises present for the development of their regions and are starting to pay more attention to their support.

An example is the Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region, which has included among the priorities of its development activities a greater emphasis on supporting the social economy and social enterprises in the region. It wants to achieve this through the creation of an integrated service centre for social enterprises, whose task will be, in addition to assisting existing social enterprises, to actively search for new entities and create conditions for the development of social entrepreneurship in the region. Based on the first outlines of the centre, it would like to focus on a broader use of social aspects in public procurement, on better linking social enterprises with the traditional business sector, on expanding training opportunities for social entrepreneurs, and on implementing mentoring and incubation programmes for start-up social enterprises. Last but not least, it wants to focus on spreading awareness about social entrepreneurship and the internationalisation of social enterprises from the region. The framework of planned activities is based on the needs analysis that was carried out for the needs of the Banská Bystrica region.

The Banská Bystrica regional government is a great inspiration for other regions from Slovakia in the field of social entrepreneurship. Several of them are trying to follow the Banská Bystrica region, to a greater or lesser extent, in their activities aimed at promoting social entrepreneurship. A signal of the increased attention of the regions to the support of social entrepreneurship is the fact that the support of either specific social enterprises or the regional ecosystem of social entrepreneurship support is already taken into account in the development plans of all self-governing regions of Slovakia.

However, in order for social entrepreneurship and individual social enterprises to get the support they deserve and need, not only from the regional governments but especially from the general public, more focus is needed on education and awareness raising programmes, as the recognition of social enterprises among the general public and public policy makers in Slovakia is still at a relatively low level. Further SBA activities on social entrepreneurship will therefore focus on this area.