EVPA policy update after the first GECES Meeting in 2021

EVPA is an active stakeholder of the GECES1 since 2013, voicing the concerns of its members directly to the European Commission and strengthening, together with other experts, the social impact investment ecosystem.

Until December 2020, Lisa Hehenberger has been the EVPA GECES representative. EVPA thanks her for the fruitful work and is delighted to announce that Bianca Polidoro is the new EVPA representative to the GECES, being part of the first meeting of the year - on 23 March.

Bianca Polidoro |
EVPA policy update after the first GECES Meeting in 2021
Daniel Munoz, AFP, Getty Images

Social Economy Action Plan - A far-reaching topic for GECES 2021

On the 23rd of March, EVPA participated in the first GECES meeting of the year. During this meeting, EVPA took part in a resourceful dialogue tackling highly important topics for EVPA members. The meeting started with an exchange on the EU Action Plan for Social Economy, focusing in particular on working conditions and international relations.

Working Conditions

EVPA played an active role during the Consultations on the Action Plan for the European Pillar on Social Rights and on the Roadmap of the Action Plan for Social Economy. According to EVPA members (investors covering the entire EVPA spectrum of capital supporting SPOs) involved in the Consultation Paper, the provision of adequate and safe working conditions, as well as fair inclusion on the labour market is directly linked to the main financial and legislative hurdles faced by Social Enterprises.

The limitation of financial resources allocated towards the development of this sector provokes a spill over effect on both the level of remuneration for employees (e.g. low salaries) and on the number of employees within the social enterprises. This leads to a low number of employees focused on implementing core activities of these enterprises and less focus on accessing different kinds of resources. This implies a poor capacity to access public resources (e.g. attracting public resources means more time allocated to understand the mechanisms and administrative process behind); and few initiatives scaled-up at the national/ EU level.

International Relations

Collaboration with international network organisations

EVPA collaborates at the international level with its sister organisations: AVPN (Asian Venture Philantropy), AVPA (African Ventrue Philantropy Alliance), Latimpacto (Latin America Venture Philantropy Network).

A common platform of discussion on social economy set-up across the world, including all the relevant international stakeholders is highly encouraged and supported by EVPA. By collaborating with network organisations active within social economy ecosystem and having subsidiaries outside the EU, the EC can easier operationalise the proposed plans for 2021 onwards, unlocking the access to finance and collaborative work on IMM at the international level.

Eastern Neighbourhood

At the same time, EVPA works to strengthen the access to finance in Eastern Partnership countries, building the social impact investing ecosystem through the new partnership with DG NEAR, and considers this point under the Roadmap very relevant for the future development of the plan: “strengthen social economy in non-EU countries, in particular in enlargement and neighbourhood countries and through EU development cooperation, to support decent jobs, civil society development and prosperity”.

On this note, EVPA considers relevant for the EC to keep and even variate and enlarge the engagements with network organisations active in the region through similar partnerships. Through these collaborations, the following 2 recommendation points under the Social Business Initiative study could be easier achieved:

  1. Strengthen the capacities for the social economy in other non-EU countries as a contribution to civil society development and peace.
  2. Strengthen the support to the social economy in neighbouring countries via relevant neighbourhood/ enlargement programmes.


The European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN), Impact Hub and the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) kicked off their collaboration to formalise a knowledge exchange under the Linking Incubation Actors for Inclusive and Social Entrepreneurship (LIAISE) programme, funded by the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

During the GECES meeting the programme was presented to all the experts, emphasising the structure and the main objective of the project: to provoke a paradigm shift in the European incubation ecosystem towards a more inclusive and impact driven approach to innovative entrepreneurship.

1About GECES

The European Commission’s Expert Group on Social Economy and Social Enterprises (GECES) was set up in 2011 and is consulted by the European Commission on the development, set up and implementation of all the actions mentioned in the Social Business Initiative (SBI) and the further development of social entrepreneurship and social economy. EVPA is an active stakeholder of the European Commission Expert Group on the Social Economy and Social Enterprises (GECES)1 since 2013, voicing the concerns of its members directly to the European Commission and strengthening, together with other experts, the social impact investment ecosystem

More about the group and their topics of discussion here.