Social economy

Social economy is a concept that is defined and implemented in different ways in the respective EU member states. Sometimes the designation refers to socially engaged companies. Sometimes it refers to the legal form of the company (e.g. cooperation).

In Flanders, the social economy consists of over 800 small and medium-sized companies. We know them as thrift shop, sheltered or social workshop (in the meantime designated as ‘tailor-made company’), bicycle workshop, landscape maintenance… Social economy in Flanders forwards the accomplishment of a certain social added value and respects basic principles, such as giving priority to labour rather than to capital, democratic decision-making, social embedding, transparency, quality and sustainability. In Flanders, social economy provides a job for 24,000 people from disadvantaged groups.

How does ESF provide help?

Since 2016 ESF focuses within the theme of social economy mainly on “refering”  disadvantaged employees from the social economy towards the normal economic circuit (NEC).
The call for proposals that was launched by the end of 2015, was call 333 ‘Refering to social economy’.

The projects in this call will be guiding approximately 1,200 participants towards a job in the Normal Economic Circuit. The actions which disadvantaged participants in these projects have to participate to are defined in the so-called Tailor Made Decree and the LDE decree. The target is to refer 75% of the participants to further guidance or to work.


Karel Vanderpoorten

Karel Vanderpoorten
02/552 83 40