Social enterprises as a tool of social and economic policy, Lithuanian case
The social enterprise is a quite new phenomenon which derives from the development of the social economy aiming to combine social, economic and political targets. Nowadays the social economy is considered as effective way to create and manage a human capital with the recognition of the importance of personal and community interests. In the most countries of the European Union the social enterprises are significant element of development of the non-governmental sector. The implementation of the principles of social economy in Lithuania is characterized by certain peculiarities. The creation of the modern, “West-type” social enterprises in Lithuania was highly welcomed in regard to the social and economical changes in society, such as social exclusion of vulnerable groups, growing pressure on the social security system, the need to vitalise local communities, etc. In 2004 the Law on Social Enterprises came in force and more than 100 enterprises were established in the country till now. It worth mention that the businesses aimed to employment of disabled people existed also in soviet period; some of them gained the status of social enterprises later. The concept of social enterprises is still under consideration though. The obstacles to involve other vulnerable groups than disabled are strong. The elaboration of the vision, clarification of the aims and targets of social enterprises as the tool of social and economic development require thorough analysis of the past trends, present conditions, and future developments. Paper aims to identify the main differences between mainstream European concept of social enterprise and the Lithuanian situation in social enterprises. The phenomenon of social enterprises presented in the context of the changing social and employment policy in West and East European countries. The situation in Lithuanian social enterprises is described on the basis of extensive information selected from representatives of social enterprises, the experts, and the institutionalised data. The methods of literature analysis, statistical data analysis, qualitative interview, and content analysis were employed during the research. The paper is prepared under the research project “The impact of labour market policies into employment situation during the different economic cycles” (No. Sin-04/2010) that is implemented within the frame of national science program “The social challenges to national security” which is carried out by the Research Council of Lithuania.
social economy, social enterprises, vulnerable groups
E24 , E60
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