Social enterprises are positioned between the traditional private and public sectors. Although there is no universally accepted definition of a social enterprise, their distinguishing characteristics are their social purpose combined with the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector. Social enterprises devote their activities and reinvest their surpluses to achieving a wider social or community objective either for their members’ or a wider interest. The development of these organisations driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, but focused on social aims, is a trend that can be observed in countries with different levels of economic development. With the current global economic slow-down, it is very important to assist individuals to become involved in entrepreneurial activities to generate additional income in order to maintain an acceptable standard of living. This paper focuses on savings and credit unions as a specific form of social enterprises emphasising their participatory nature, which involves the persons affected by the activity, limited profit distribution and additional aim to benefit the community. The results and findings of the paper show that the development of savings and credit unions has proven to be essential in Latvia because it also serves as a vehicle for democracy and participation in the local community for thousands of people who have become socially passive through the breakdown of the old system and establishment of the new in the whole country.
|Keywords:||Social Economy, Social Entrepreneurship, Credit Unions|
doctoral candidate, Faculty of Economics and Management, Department of Public Administration, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia
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