Promoting Cross Border Activities for Social Economy, Including Social Enterprises (EASME/COSME/2018/032)

Funding Source
Total budget
Q-PLAN role
Contact person(s)

Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME)
November 2019 – April 2021 (18 months)
€ 199,175.00
Project Leader
Ms Foteini Psarra, +30 2310 411 191,


The study “Promoting Cross Border Activities for Social Economy, Including Social Enterprises” sets to inspire social economy actors to engage in the Internal Market and accordingly inform policymakers on EU and national/regional levels what to do in this perspective. To this end, the Study Team will assess and diffuse successful transnational initiatives and activities of social economy identified in 14 EU Member States and 2 COSME countries, and draw lessons for European and national policymakers to help social economy actors, i.e. social enterprises, associations, mutuals, non-profit organisations and others, enter the Internal Market via cross-border activities and cooperation.

The objectives that the project aims to achieve include:

  • Assessment of the state of play in transnational activities of social economy actors to identify the barriers, obstacles and opportunities social enterprises face when undertaking cross-border activities and compare to traditional SMEs;
  • Collect, analyse and discuss good practices of cross-border social economy activities to inspire and encourage more social economy actors to be involved in transnational activities through presenting illustrative examples;
  • Propose recommendations for social economy business models and strategies, and for conducive policies and frameworks at EU & national/regional levels to increase the political visibility of social economy and reinforce social economy actors to undertake transnational activities.

The key outputs of this project are:

  • The compilation of a pool of social economy practices undertaking in transnational activities that demonstrate: i) a consistent impact model; ii) a sustainable business model; and iii) a replication perspective.
  • The organisation of a European co-creation and validation workshop in which more than 40 stakeholders from all over Europe and beyond will be invited to discuss on the drivers, benefits, challenges and risks of social economy actors engaging in transnational business relationships and what new pathways, tools and practices, policy needs, and opportunities exist, or should be co-designed with social economy actors to support then in following such activities.
  • The Guide, a practical document aimed for social economy actors and supporting intermediary organisations that will describe solutions and pathways of successful social economy actors engaged in transnational activities, so as to help others improve their strategies and implementation processes.

The study is carried out by Q-PLAN INTERNATIONAL (lead) together with the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT), Ashoka CEE (Ashoka), and Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) and the following subcontractors: Dr Dimitri Gagliardi and Dr Effie Amanatidou.

Q-PLAN responsibilities

  • Project management and coordination;
  • Participation in the identification and selection of social economy practices successfully involved in cross-border activities;
  • Organisation of a co-creation and validation workshop with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, to discuss about the current issues and new approaches towards the promotion of cross-border activities across the European social economy;
  • Contribution to the formulation of practical recommendations for policymakers as well as intermediaries and social entrepreneurs on the stimulation of cross border activities;
  • Participation in the design and implementation of the awareness raising activities of the project and the dissemination of the study’s results on EU and national/regional levels.
qplanPromoting Cross Border Activities for Social Economy, Including Social Enterprises