In Europe

The best established European research network in the field, EMES, works with a more articulated definition - a Weberian 'ideal type' rather than a prescriptive definition - which relies on nine fuzzy criteria: Economic criteria: 1. continuous activity of the production and/or sale of goods and services (rather than predominantly advisory or grant-giving functions). 2. a high level of autonomy: social enterprises are created voluntarily by groups of citizens and are managed by them, and not directly or indirectly by public authorities or private companies, even if they may benefit from grants and donations. Their members have the right to participate ('voice') and to leave the organisation ('exit'). 3. a significant economic risk: the financial viability of social enterprises depends on the efforts of their members, who have the responsibility of ensuring adequate financial resources, unlike most public institutions. 4. social enterprises' activities require a minimum number of paid workers, although, like traditional non-profit organisations, social enterprises may combine financial and non-financial resources, voluntary and paid work. Social criteria: 5. an explicit aim of community benefit: one of the principal aims of social enterprises is to serve the community or a specific group of people. To the same end, they also promote a sense of social responsibility at local level. 6. citizen initiative: social

enterprises are the result of collective dynamics involving people belonging to a community or to a group that shares a certain need or aim. They must maintain this dimension in one form or another. 7. decision making not based on capital ownership: this generally means the principle of 'one member, one vote', or at least a voting power not based on capital shares. Although capital owners in social enterprises play an important role, decision-making rights are shared with other stakeholders. 8. participatory character, involving those affected by the activity: the users of social enterprises' services are represented and participate in their structures. In many cases one of the objectives is to strengthen democracy at local level through economic activity. 9. limited distribution of profit: social enterprises include organisations that totally prohibit profit distribution as well as organisations such as co-operatives, which may distribute their profit only to a limited degree, thus avoiding profit maximising behaviour. Ongoing research work characterises social enterprises as often having multiple objectives, multiple stakeholders and multiple sources of funding. However their objectives tend to fall into three categories: integration of disadvantaged people through work (work integration social enterprises or WISEs) provision of social, community and environmental services ethical trading such as fair trade