Social Entrepreneurship in Sparsely Populated Areas

SOCENT SPAs / Interreg Europe

SOCENT SPAs will foster interregional cooperation among six public/private entities of Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Spain in a view to improve the effectiveness of regional policies in actively supporting the visibility, incubation and acceleration of social entrepreneurs in sparsely populated areas (SPAs) as a driver to regional competitiveness and inclusive growth.

In SPAs, demographic trends are a particular challenge. As counter-measure, social innovation needs to be developed to promote employment and competitiveness as it can make a real difference as a source of innovative approaches for resolving societal challenges through mobilizing civil society to further inclusive socioeconomic development. Social Enterprises (SEs) directly benefit local development and correct major socioeconomic imbalances while benefiting local communities, a crucial asset to secure the population in SPAs. However, bespoke support for SEs is limited; policymakers can play a significant role by setting up the right legal framework.

Thus, to influence policies in a view to enhance SEs’ visibility and competitiveness whilst taking into account SPAs’ conditions, interregional exchange of knowledge and successful experiences/good practices will be fundamental. With an integrated approach, a comprehensive learning process based on identification, analysis and transfer will be implemented through workshops, site visits and meetings with stakeholders. Based on the learning acquired, action plans aiming at integrating SEs in SPAs support schemes into policies will be developed. Communication will play a crucial role in supporting the action

The main outputs will be a best practices guide for SEs in SPAs and 4 implemented action plans. The main results will be policymakers’ awareness raised on SEs as a driver to inclusive growth and their capacities increased in identifying SEs’ needs and addressing these adequately in their policies to create an enabling legal environment for SEs.


January 2017 – June 2021


Project is supported by EU – European Regional Development Fund


  • General Directorate for Social Economy and Self-Employed Persons – Regional Government of Castile and León (ES)
  • Social Impact (Nemecko)
  • NGOD Cives Mundi (ES)
  • Lapland University of Applied Sciences (FI)
  • Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic (SK)
  • Non-profit organization EPIC (SK)


Documents for public (211/2000 Z.z.)