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Ciepielewska-Kowalik, Anna
Les, Ewa
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
54th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional development & globalisation: Best practices", 26-29 August 2014, St. Petersburg, Russia
This paper presents the definitional discourse on the Polish social economy organizations and social enterprises in the milieu of academic experts and practitioners, analyzes their competitive advantages, identifies major challenges and barriers and provides some key recommendations on how social economy organizations and social enterprises can be supported in Poland. With an eye on early childhood education & care services we outline the performance and impact of social enterprises in this policy area and implications for academic understanding of social enterprise. The analysis is based on quantitative and qualitative studies conducted in the years 2011-2013. It describes the scale, specificity and socio-economic potential of social enterprises in childcare. The national and local policy towards social enterprises, as well as their role in fostering private regulation schemes in childcare policy are also examined in this paper. Social economy and social enterprise are new terms in Poland. They have emerged after the 1989 from the concepts of third sector and co-operatives. In Poland the concept of social enterprise has received initial recognition among government officials, professionals, academics and the third sector due to EU programs on social inclusion and economic reintegration such as EQUAL and Human Capital. Social enterprises are understood as a subtype of the third sector and as a new development within this sector covering existing organizations as well as its new types (Le¶, Kolin 2009). Most recent Polish studies argue, however, that there is not yet a common definition of social enterprise. Polish social enterprises consist of a plurality of organizational forms that have developed between the market and the state, but also with a close relation with the public sector. In Poland the majority of social enterprises, which consist a minority of the social economy, consist of work integration, service oriented and local development oriented organizations. This development within third sector organizations towards more economic activities contributed to their more entrepreneurial position, particularly the production of social services for groups with special needs (children, disabled, on-parent families, older persons), production of local services (agrotourism, social tourism, recreational parks) as well as the promotion of alternative modes of employment generation primarily for those workers who could not or did not want to find a job at the traditional labour market. Social enterprises in Poland address new (central and local) social policy challenges induced by public budgets constrains, harsh social welfare reforms and growing diversification of social needs.
social economy
social enterprise
early childhood education & care
social services
work integration
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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