Research project

Social Enterprise as Force for more Inclusive and Innovative Societies (SEFORIS)

SEFORIS is a multidisciplinary research programme that looks at the processes and structures of social enterprises for generating innovation and inclusion, as well as at the formal and informal institutional conditions which contribute to the development of social enterprises.

SEFORIS 2014 – 2017

During 2014 – 2017 SEFORIS was funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. It investigates social enterprises from the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, China and Russia from an international comparative perspective.

Team presentation | Final project conference



The SEFORÏS project continues with a new interview round among social enterprises in Germany and other European countries starting in June 2020. We are building a long-term perspective of how social enterprises across Europe develop, what their challenges are, what opportunities they benefit from and what policy-makers can do to support their social impact. By looking at what changed in the past 5 years for the over 1,000 European social enterprises previously surveyed, we will provide a more accurate understanding of the evolution of their needs and contributions. This is especially important in the current context, in which social problems in the post-pandemic world will require innovative solutions from a variety of stakeholders.

The follow-up project is carried out in the framework of CIVICA and is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

We are studying the antecedents and outcomes of new and alternative ways of organizing for social and economic goals across different institutional contexts, such as different welfare states and types of capitalist societies. We are specifically interested in how differences in social problems across contexts – their varied prominence in public discourse and differences in solutions to such problems – affect organizing for social and economic goals within and across organizational boundaries.

For more information visit the official website: 

Civica Alliance NewsLearning through practice and practice through learning: An interview on social science research with Alexandra Ioan


Project lead

  • Johanna Mair, Professor for Organization, Strategy and Leadership

Faculty and researchers

  • Alexandra IoanSEFORÏS project | Partner and Head of the Learning and Action Center, Ashoka

  • Nikolas Rathert, SEFORÏS project | Assistant Professor at Tilburg University



  • Roxaneh Shalchian Tehran, SEFORÏS project | Student Research Assistant

  • Josefa Kindt, SEFORÏS project | Student Research Assistant