After a decade of work on the Draft Law, the Law on Social Entrepreneurship was adopted at the session of the National Assembly on February 4, 2022. The law is one of the most advanced legal solutions for the social entrepreneurship sector in Europe and, for the first time in Serbia, sets the legal framework for the sector in which about 500 companies operate.
The main feature of social enterprises in Serbia 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 social mission, democratic governance and the obligation to reinvest or return profits to the community. Social enterprises have been providing sustainable support to various vulnerable groups, being a substantial player in assuring their social integration. Thus, the law will help long-term unemployed, victims of violence, homeless people, returnees from serving their sentences, women and other vulnerable groups to integrate into society. The text of the law is the result of intensive work of all members of the Working Group, who come from the public, private and civil sectors, with active consultations with social enterprises, and represents one of the most advanced legal solutions for the social entrepreneurship sector in Europe.
The Coalition for the Development of the Solidarity Economy, consisting of the European Movement in Serbia, the Initiative for Development and Cooperation, Smart Collective and the Trag Foundation, was an active member of the working group for drafting the Law on Social Entrepreneurship. The Coaliton advocated for law to provide status, not a new legal form for existing social enterprises. In this way, the law will regulate the sector of around 500 social enterprises in Serbia and through different programs, the law will enforce various forms of support regardless of whether they are registered as entrepreneurs, companies, foundations, citizens’ associations or cooperatives. The law also provides 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 Sector Development Program, which will be consistently and continuously implemented.
The law is a very first step in ensuring institutional recognition of social enterprises. It is a huge step for the community of social entrepreneurs and intermediary organizations to be committed to the establishment of a favorable ecosystem for social entrepreneurship development. The further work in the development of the ecosystem is to provide recommendations for advancing other laws relevant for the sector (tax laws, fiscal laws, social policy laws, cooperative law, public procurement laws, etc.), in depth research of the sector with the aim to design measures for financial and non-financial support to the social enterprises and continuous promotion of the sector among citizens, with the aim to develop joint ownership over development of local communities. Eventually, being aware that the European Commission has brought an Action plan for Social Economy, the Coalition will carefully monitor trends in the EU and use them as guidance for national advocacy and capacity building efforts.
According to statistics, there are two million social enterprises on the European market, which employ about 11 million workers.
 Here you can find a database of social enterprises in Serbia made by the Coalition – https://solidarnaekonomija.rs/en/database-of-social-entreprises-in-serbia/