SYFO manifesto

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SYFO - Forum for Social Entrepreneurship

SYFO grew out of the national thematic network set up during the EQUAL programme. it published this manifesto in 2005.

A Manifesto for social enterprises in Finland

The main propositions:

1. Social enterprise is more broadly defined as a company that delivers services for the public good, promotes sustainable social and environmental development and invests its profits primarily in its own development. A new company form is created for these non-profit companies.

2. Public authorities take social enterprises into account in public purchases and procurement. The impact that social enterprises have on employment and social and health expenditure is considered in the procurement criteria. In general, the legislation on procurement should put more emphasis on social factors.

3. Employment authorities in different regions harmonise their practises in granting wage and project subsidies for social enterprises. Specific funds are allocated to employment authorities for the support of social enterprises.

4. Subsidies for social enterprises are increased, and more long-term approaches and greater flexibility are applied.

5. A sufficient development funding framework is developed for starting up social enterprises.

6. Loans granted for social enterprises receive a state guarantee of a minimum of five years, as well as interest subsidy. New financial instruments of "patient capital" are developed for social enterprises.

7. Regional employment and economic centres create a joint development project for social enterprises. The centres set specific objectives for supporting social enterprises and provide separate funding for the purpose.

8. Public business services take social enterprise into account as a new possibility and include them in their development projects.

9. Advisory services for new business enterprises support the establishment of social enterprises and provide funding for the purpose.

10. An extensive development project for social enterprises is set up with the support of TEKES (Technological Development Centre), SITRA (The Finnish National Fund for Research and Development) and other relevant parties. Social entrepreneurship is included in entrepreneurship studies, and research on social entrepreneurship is promoted.

11. The Act on Social Enterprise should be revised so that it allows social enterprises to provide temporary workers for other companies, e.g. to act as temping agencies that place disabled and long-term unemployed people in co-operation with other employers.

12. The Income Tax Act should be revised so that households are entitled to a household tax deduction for the work provided by a social enterprise.

13. Enterprise incubators include social enterprises in their development work.

14. Attention should be paid to all good practises that already exist in Finnish companies. There are many that promote corporate social responsibility by employing people in a vulnerable labour market position and pay attention to sustainable social and environmental development. We must identify these good practises and disseminate them. We must promote activities that enable all companies to employ disabled and long-term unemployed people and that encourage them to set up social enterprises as affiliated companies, for instance.