Newly launched white paper aims to strengthen social enterprises

The bill would impact various sectors of society, including education, health, culture and heritage

A newly launched white paper aims to provide a legislative framework to establish the best practices for social enterprises and help social enterprises access resources. 

Economy Minister Chris Cardona said that the act was about making informed decisions and listening to suggestions made by stakeholders. He added that a draft law was proposing the legal framework with the objective of enabling the development of sustainable social enterprise organisations. 

Cardona added that proposed legislation was based on the idea of providing a lean legislative framework that establishes the fundamental principles in social enterprise best practices as commonly found within the European Union. It also included a recognition of Malta's particular circumstances in terms of economies of scale and market limitations. 

Cardona added that the act, which has a social perspective, promotes aspects that would benefit the general community. Some of these aspects include education, health, culture, arts and heritage as well as the promotion of human rights. 

Nadine Sant, the contact point for this White Paper, said, "This is a key sector that comes together to work for the community, either through provision of services or employment of needy workers."

Sant added that many social enterprises exist without knowing what they are entitled to. A 2012 report showed the lack of clear definition and understanding of the criteria for these benefits. 

"Social enterprise is defined by its purpose," she added, explaining that the policy was based on the aforementioned 2012 study and a number of recommendations for the growth of the sector. 

She added that 4,378 people were employed within the voluntary sector and around 750 organisations that fulfilled the criteria to be social enterprises. Sant explained that many of these organizations were well structured and 99.15% of these organisations invested their profits into the development of the organization itself. 

She added that the bill could be downloaded online and encouraged people to give their feedback in the coming months so that the final document could be tabled in parliament.