EMNES Working Paper No 53

The social economy is considered a key factor in providing employment opportunities and improving living conditions for vulnerable groups. Although there are no official statistics regarding the number of social enterprises in Egypt, the growing number of different actors in the ecosystem, as intermediary support organisations, indicates the prosperity of social economy. Based on eight case studies of social enterprises in Egypt, the discussion in this research shows that social enterprises mostly attract young, educated Egyptians. They operate in different sectors, such as education, the environment and crafts. They generate direct and indirect economic opportunities, mainly for women, young people and informal workers. However, limited access to financial resources and the non-existence of a legal framework for social enterprises are two major barriers to the development of social enterprises in Egypt. These barriers constrain their potential role in facilitating the formalisation of informal employment.

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