After almost a decade of work on the Draft Law, on February 4, 2022, the Law on Social Entrepreneurship was adopted. This law, for the first time in Serbia, sets the legal framework for the sector in which 500 companies operate. At the same time, this law is one of the most advanced legal solutions for the social entrepreneurship sector in Europe.
The main feature of social enterprises is that they were established as a result of a private initiative aimed at offering sustainable solutions for community development, through social innovation, innovative products in the field of environment and circular economy, social inclusion and other areas of sustainable development. They are characterized by a social mission, democratic governance and the obligation to reinvest or return profits to the community.
The aim of the law is to define the concept of social economy and the conditions for acquiring the status of a social enterprise, in order to enable the existing entities that already practice social entrepreneurship to be institutionally recognized. The special importance of regulating this area is reflected in the possibility of developing new financial instruments intended directly for social enterprises, then working on improving other laws to create an even more favorable framework for social enterprises (such as tax relief), then the possibility of participating in public procurement procedures with social elements.
The way the law was drafted, Serbia follows the trends in the European Union, which adopted the Action Plan for the Social Economy at the end of 2021, as a basis for coordinated action to establish a favorable environment for the development of social economy organizations at the EU level.
According to statistics, there are two million social enterprises on the European market, which employ about 11 million workers. This law should also contribute to increasing the number of employed citizens, but also to solving various social problems, given that the law defines different fields of social influence and provides for their determination, ie provides that the social enterprise reports on its social impact.
The law also provides for the establishment of bodies that will monitor the implementation of the law and adopt measures for the development of the sector. In order for the law to be implemented, it is necessary to first establish a functional Council for the Development of Social Entrepreneurship and prepare the planned Program for the Development of Social Entrepreneurship, which will be consistently and continuously implemented.
The Coalition for Solidarity Economy Development, which consists of CSOs members: the European Movement in Serbia, the Initiative for Development and Cooperation, the Smart Kolektiv and the Trag Foundation, were active members of the working group for drafting the Law on Solidarity Entrepreneurship. Significant support for this process was given by the German Organization for International Cooperation, through the Serbian-German initiative for sustainable growth and employment.