A significant proportion of Europe’s economy is intended to make profits for people other than investors or owners. Known as the ‘social economy’, it includes cooperatives, mutual societies, non-profit associations, foundations and social enterprises. They operate a very broad number of commercial activities, provide a wide range of products and services across the European single market and generate millions of jobs. Social enterprises are also the engine for social innovation and an important vehicle for achieving inclusive growth. Promoting social business creation by underrepresented and disadvantaged groups can further help create jobs and fight social and financial exclusion, while stimulating economic growth across the economy. However, while entrepreneurship plays an important role in stimulating innovation and driving job creation, only a relatively small part of the population is involved in starting a business, and not all people have the same opportunities to create and run a business .
The objective of the EU project HERE is to provide opportunities to start up and operate in business people at risk of exclusion in their own neighbourhood, by designing a business incubation methodology. The ultimate goal of the project is to promote what we will call social economy of proximity.