In Serbia there are 1.196 social enterprises, as revealed by a recent study of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (2014).
The Report, describing the historical path of the emergence of Serbian social enterprises, offers an important insight on the existing constraints faced by the sector of social entrepreneurship, which was deeply influenced by the historical inheritance of communism.
First, there was a general public distrust towards forms of social ownership, which reminds the public of the communist period and is therefore often initially not well received. (…) Due to a negative view of the public, the development of the co-operatives sector was hindered severely. A second problem of the communist legacy is that most governments, including the Serbian, adopted a neo-liberal approach and thus preferred privatisation to other forms of ownership. And the third common problem in these countries is that (…) there is a lack of initiative and it takes time to learn business and finance skills that are required for entrepreneurship.
Moreover, interesting policy advices are provided thanks to the information gathered through interviews with national experts in the field of social entrepreneurship.
Some interviewees suggested that it would be helpful to write a Strategy for the Development of Social Entrepreneurship as a first step towards establishing clear goals. In the course of the public discussion on the law on social enterprises it has become evident that the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy sees social entrepreneurship very differently from the way social entrepreneurs see it.
Thus, the National Report represents an interesting study within the European research concerning the enabling features for social enterprises in a country that aspires to join the European Union.
Social Enterprise, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Serbia: A National Report
FREN – Fondacija Za Razvoj Ekonomske Nauke