What is Social Cooperative Enterprise?

Over the last 20 years in the European area, and in the development of “promising” area of Social Economy, a tendency of recommendation voltage and operating production units, organized on a business basis and with actual working conditions aimed at creating jobs for the socially vulnerable groups has been reported successfully.

The tough competitive basis of the “private” sector of the economy, and the stiff, bureaucratic basis of the “public” sector in combination the shrinking policies deprive of the societies the implementation of actions which will promote the employment of people and groups threatened by social and economic exclusion. The answer to this difficult problem is going to be given by the developing “third” sector of economy, social- solidarity entrepreneurship which has been dynamic and productive in recent years.

This tendency has brought up a new type of organizational / legal forms such as “Social Cooperative” and “Social Enterprise”, which have been the last few years the most widely used forms for the undertaking of this kind of actions.

Good practices and successful models of social entrepreneurship are continually recorded in the European and wider developed and / or developing world.

This general tendency is also reflected in Greece with the establishment of a new legal framework and the institutionalization Limited Liability Social Cooperatives which is contained in Law 2716/99 for the “Development and the modernization of mental health services” with positive results, now visible and well- established.

With the Social Coop, “Social enterprises” are institutionalized for the first time in Greece aiming at the socio-professional integration of the people with mental health problems. In this context, Social Coop (apart from the fundamental direction of psychological rehabilitation) is presented as business structures which have to compose a team and work with a different alternative culture for the promotion of employment.

So, 25 of such business units have been established and operate successfully in our country so far. They managed to create sustainable jobs for over 700 people, while the annual turnover was more than 4,3 million.

This tendency continues with favorable terms, as the basic policy of the European Union and the Greek state in general and the Ministry of Health in particular is now the support of the social entrepreneurship, something that is reflected both at the Operational Programs under implementation and at planned programs in the next programming period until 2020.

Social Coop.

They are private legal entities with limited liability on the part of their members. They aim at the socio-economic integration and at the professional integration of people with serious psychological problems contributing to their healing and to as economical as possible self-sufficiency. They have a commercial status. They can develop any economic activity in the primary, secondary and tertiary sector. In each sector of Mental Health (geographic and population unit) only one Social Coop can be found.

The members of Social Coop.

  • Mental patients at least 15 years old, to at least 35%.
  • Workers in the mental health field, civil servants, mental health professionals at no more than 45%.
  • Self- government structures, hospitals, other legal entities under private law, non-governmental organizations, but also individuals- private citizens at a rate of at most 20%.


Cooperative shares

As in any Cooperative, so in Social Coop. there are cooperative shares divided into two categories:

Mandatory cooperative shares, a mandatory share to each member which is equal and indivisible to all members(principle of democracy in administration)

Optional cooperative shares, corresponding to five optional shares to each member.

General Assembly

The General Assembly of the members is the superior authority of Social Coop. It decides for each issue that is not within the jurisdiction of another institution/ authority and has the supervision and the control of the Administration bodies. In the General Assembly, all the Cooperative’s members participate equally.


The Board of directors commands and represents the Social Coop. according to the provisions of the Statute and the Law and it decides also for all the issues relating to its administration and management, except those falling under the exclusive competence of the General Assembly. The Board of directors consists of 7 members and 2 members from the A category participate and other 5 from the B and C categories of members.

The Supervisory Βoard controls the actions of the Board of directors as well as the observance of the decisions of the General Assembly.

Economic Resources of Social Coop.

The economic resources of Social Coop can come from:

  • Income from the exercise of its business activities.
  • Exploitation of assigned-in use-assets data and infrastructures of State agencies, Organizations, Church or Local government.
  • Program contracts with National and International Organizations and Organizations of Local Government.
  • Funding by National Organizations, by the Investment Program, Development Programs.
  • Subsidy from the Ordinary State Budget or the Public Investment Program exclusively for co-funded projects from the EU or from International Organizations.
  • Endowments, donations, and concessions of assets.
  • Income from the exploitation of its assets.