Social enterprises in Denmark

Social enterprises: new ideas and innovative solutions
Social challenges call for new ideas and innovative solutions. Social enterprises are experts in thinking unorthodoxly – and thus of great value to society in the opinion of the Danish Government.

This still new type of enterprise makes a tremendous difference at the human level for those who come 'on board' and become part of the community. Social enterprises benefit the economy and cohesion of society and inspire 'traditional' enterprises to think social change.

The Dansih Government defines social enterprises as

  • Private enterprises carrying on business for the purpose of – through their activities and earnings – promoting special social purposes and purposes beneficial to society

The Danish Government wants to promote social enterprises to:

  • Ensure growth and job creation in a competitive international economy.
  • Create job opportunities for people who have been depending on public benefits for many years.
  • Protect the environment and ensure better health and welfare for all in the future.

A beekeeper from Bybi is working.

A homeless beekeper from the Danish social enterprise Bybi takes care of the bees.

The number and types of social enterprises in Denmark
In 2013, the number of social enterprises in Denmark totalled 300. That is the assessment of the Committee on Social Enterprises. About half the number has come into existence since 2007.

40% of these can be characterised as "Work Integration Social Enterprises". The remaining 60% aim at promoting a social, health-related, cultural or environmental cause.

A survey by the Committee on Social Enterprises also revealed the following about Danish social enterprises:

  • Almost 80% of Danish social enterprises can be labelled micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 full-time employees. The corresponding percentage for all Danish companies is 93%. 
  • Geographically, social enterprises are dispersed throughout the country, but the largest concentration is found in the capital region.
  • 46% of Danish social enterprises were established between 2007 and 2012. The corresponding percentage for all Danish enterprises is 34%. 
  • 78% of Danish social enterprises have either a social or employment-related purpose. The remaining enterprises serve a cultural, environmental or health-related purpose.
last modified Nov 13, 2014