After a seven-year delay, a bill promoting social enterprises in Cyprus will be approved in parliament in early 2020.
A social enterprise is a business that has specific social objectives serving its primary purpose, which is to boost profits, while also offering benefits to society and the environment, like creating jobs for disabled or underprivileged people.
The profits of social enterprises are mainly used to fund social programmes.
The bill was initially tabled approved by parliament in January 2018.
However, changes were introduced in June 2019 after consultations with the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (GD EPSA), and the bill needed to be re-approved at the House.
“We want to increase social enterprising in Cyprus as soon as possible and this bill aims at paving the road for new businesses,” Director of Planning at GD EPSA Georgia Solomonidou-Christofidou told the Cyprus Mail.
“Social enterprises will have the possibility of hiring people with disabilities, migrants, recovering drug addicts and many other people that might struggle to find jobs.
“This bill is a priority for us and for the European Commission, it will help us grow as a country and as individuals.
“However, it will likely need another few months to become effective, as we are still laying out the regulations that will address important issues such as bureaucratic procedures and taxation.”
Nevertheless, Solomonidou-Christofidou said that, by the end of 2020, the plan will finally allow the registration and certification of social enterprises, which will also be able to apply for funding up €20,000 and for even larger funding from 2021.
“By 2021 we are planning to be able to offer more funds to social enterprises, but that is still a work-in-progress, we do not yet have a timeframe for larger funding.”
Ten per cent of businesses in the European Union are social enterprises, which employ a total of 11 million people, while in Cyprus only 150 businesses today can today be listed as social enterprises.