Social enterprises are becoming more and more recognized across the world, and there is a growing interest towards such initiatives in Hungary as well. The present paper analyses the phenomenon in our country focusing on its conceptual and historical developments, as well as the current situation.
Research on social enterprise has developed in the USA and Western Europe. As a “western term” it is important to see how it is understood in Central and Eastern Europe. Our paper contributes to this conceptual discussion by looking at how the term has been shaped in Hungary.
Regarding historical developments, scholars point out the negative impact of the socialist legacy on the development of social enterprise in CEE (eg. Hausner 2009). In Hungary G. Fekete (2011) refers to distrust, the survival of paternalism and the devaluation of the concept of social solidarity, as part of the legacy of the state socialist past. This paper summarizes the history of the development characteristic to Hungary.
Concerning the present, recently an increasing number of social economy organizations refer to themselves as social enterprises. They often face difficulties in their daily existence due to various economic, legal, policy-related and other reasons. The paper provides an overview of the current state of social enterprises looking at the size, main roles, types and characteristics, as well as opportunities and problems of the sector.
To provide this overview, the paper reviews Hungarian and international literature on social enterprise and analyzes the findings of 30 questionnaires conducted as part of the ICSEM project with leaders of social enterprises in Hungary.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Social enterprises in Hungary “ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.