SEFORÏS Newsletter - January 2015
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SEFORÏS is a multi-disciplinary research programme that investigates the potential of social enterprises to enhance the inclusiveness of societies. SEFORÏS wishes you the very best for the new year! 

A Big Year

Best wishes to all for the year 2015! In the coming twelve months, SEFORÏS will survey 1000 social enterprises across Europe, Russia and China. The survey will provide us with a bottom-up view that should help us better understand the role of social enterprise in leading to a more inclusive, innovative society. Critical to the success is integrating the issue of context - how formal and informal institutions, social capital environment and resources affect social enterprise performance and vice versa. In conjunction with the analysis of governance, impact, financing and innovation, this should allow us to develop thoughtful insights for new policy geared toward social entrepreneurs and social innovation. It’s a big year and we are looking forward to it.

27 Case Studies of Social Enterprises: First Highlights

SEFORÏS has recently concluded an unusually high load of interviews all relating to 27 social enterprises in 9 countries. The aim is to enrich our understanding of social enterprises through the in-depth study of especially chosen social enterprises. No less than 236 interviews were conducted. The cases gather information about governance, finance, innovation, impact and context, the 5 core research areas of SEFORÏS. The formal analysis is still in preparation but some preliminary conclusions can already be highlighted. SEFORÏS researcher Georgiana Nitulescu, who coordinated the case studies, jotted down some first insights. Read them here. 

Testimonials from social entrepreneurs who participated: 

“I am convinced that social entrepreneurs make a huge impact regarding  social innovations in Europe. The results that are generated in the context of SEFORÏS do contribute to gain attention as well as awareness of politicians and decision makers within the political fields.” 
Rose Volz-Schmidt, founder and CEO of wellcome (Germany)
“Engaging in this research project has proved unexpectedly encouraging. Taking the time to genuinely review what we do and why we do it has also sharpened our thinking.”
Richard Nicol, CEO of Midlands Together (UK)
“Many of us working at Volontärbyrån, were interviewed about our business during the participation in the case study. It is always exciting and instructive to reflect on your own operation with the help of others; in this case SEFORÏS.”
Maria Alslander, CEO of Volontärbyrån (Sweden)

"Our mission is to generate a model for social, environmental and economic transformation. Participating in SEFORÏS makes us feel in a good company, and helps us reflect on ourselves and share knowledge."
Oriol Costa Lechuga, CEO of Dynamis (Spain)

Read more about these four social enterprises here.

Social Enterpreneur in the spotlight: Csimota

Csimota is an innovative, dynamic publishing house in Hungary that specializes in progressive children's books. Csimota wants to emphasize topics such as tolerance and acceptance, which are often omitted in the educational system. Besides, the company provides the possibility to earn additional income and gain work experience for parents outside the traditional labor market. Read more here.

Policy Event: Learning from Positive Outliers in the Banking System

Professor Ute Stephan discussed SEFORÏS research during a Policy Event on the Reflections on the Banking Crisis on 19 November 2015, organised by the Industry and Parliamentary Trust, and held in the House of Commons. Her blogpost takes a look at alternative models of banking and what can be learned from positive outliers. Professor Stephan identifies four key business practices that underpin and maintain a bank's long-term focus: A commitment to transparency, inclusive governance, relationship building, and sustainable human resource practices.

To see more events the SEFORÏS team participated in recently, please visit


Is there the gender pay gap among UK social enterprise directors? The answer is yes. But Why? Estrin, S., Stephan, U. & Vuijc, S. discuss this in “Do women earn less even as social entrepreneurs?” (full-text pdf)  

Mickiewicz, T., Sauka, A., & Stephan, U. found support for a positive link between entrepreneurial orientation and philanthropy. Building on social-psychological theories of motivation, they argue and confirm that philanthropy can also be an expression of owner–managers’ altruistic values; these values can be compatible and even mutually reinforcing with entrepreneurship.

Academic partners and research institutions
Social entrepreneur support and financing organisations
SEFORIS is a flagship multi-disciplinary, multi-method international research project on social enterprises funded by the European Commission. For more information, visit our website  
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