The increasing acknowledgement of the third sector in Europe, together with the broader interest in non-conventional entrepreneurial dynamics addressing current challenges, led to the emergence of the new concept of ‘social enterprise’. Social enterprises have been defined by the EMES Network as:

organisations with an explicit aim to benefit the community, initiated by a group of citizens and in which the material interest of capital investors is subject to limits. Social enterprises also place a high value on their autonomy and on economic risk-taking related to ongoing socio-economic activity.