Border Regions in Europe for Social Entrepreneurship


BRESE (Border Regions in Europe for Social Entrepreneurship) is the Interreg EUROPE project funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aimed at deconstructing barriers, raising awareness and improving business support schemes for Social Enterprises.

Project description

Recently, attention has been focused on social enterprises as providers of most effective solutions to social and environmental challenges. Social enterprises are enterprises that combine social objectives with an entrepreneurial spirit. These organizations focus on achieving greater social, environmental or social objectives, thus combining the social with the entrepreneurial element.

Social enterprises have demonstrated the ability to foster inclusive growth, address societal needs and build social cohesion and inclusion. They also carry the potential for better promotion and better jobs, as opposed to the high unemployment rate, especially youth unemployment faced by several regions in Europe. Despite the great potential of social enterprises, the landscape of legislation and legal frameworks adapted to social enterprises, as well as appropriate instruments to support the business, are still very fragmented and rare in European countries. In addition, social enterprises still do not play a major role on the agenda of policy makers or the public.

When it comes to the capacities of social enterprises, they are highly aligned with the objectives addressed by a number of structural funds in Europe, such as cross-border programmes and regional operational programmes. Based on the different existing prerequisites for social enterprises in different European regions, a consortium of this project was formed to engage in interregional learning process.

Project objective

The BRESE project objective is to use different instruments and frameworks of regional policy though the exchange of good practice, with the aim of deconstructing barriers for social enterprises, comparing, enhancing and improving business support instruments for social enterprises, and bringing social enterprises on the political and societal agenda. Given the strong fragmentation in tailored support schemes for Social Enterprises, there is a lot of potential za for interregional learning.

In recognition of the potential of social enterprises to foster inclusive growth, address societal needs, and build social and territorial cohesion, which are often objectives that are especially relevant for cross-border cooperation or regional Operational programmes, five policy instruments will be compared and evaluated with regard to social enterprises. This process will illustrate opportunities to better foster social enterprises by improving the relevant policy instruments.

To achieve this objective, the project aims to:

•  assess the landscape of social enterprises and the available business support schemes for social enterprises in the different partner regions
•  show best-practice approaches from each region to interregional stakeholders and evaluate the different tools in the other regions,
•  raise awareness of policy makers and other relevant regional actors about the important role of social enterprises and the need for tailored support mechanisms
•  elaborate action plans to make the involved policy instruments more supportive and suitable for the promotion of social enterprises and therefore, stimulate innovation through programme-level improvements (e.g. flexible partnerships models, business funding schemes, business targeted calls)
•  initiate a network of cooperation between relevant actors across Europe; both involved project partners and stakeholders create a network for sustainable cooperation also in the aftermath of the project
•  actively disseminate and promote the project’s results; share the knowledge to the policy platforms and at EU-level as examples for all European regions

Project partners

•    1-LP Euregio Rhine-Waal DE
•    3-PP Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia LV
•    4-PP Slovak Business Agency SK
•    5-AP University of Latvia LV
•    6-PP Rzeszow Regional Development Agency PL

Project value

•  Overall value: EUR 1,214,160.00, of which EUR 181,130.00 is available to HAMAG-BICRO

Project duration:  42 months (01.08.2019 – 31.01.2023)
Main project website: