Verified Social Enterprise

Social & Green Enterprises can now be labelled with state recognition as Verified Social Enterprises (VSE). A milestone for the development of Austrian social entrepreneurship!

On 1 December 2022, an important step was taken for the social entrepreneurship sector. For the first time, social entrepreneurs can register their company as an officially recognized “Verified Social Enterprise”. Initiated by the Social Entrepreneurship Network Austria (SENA), the representation of Austrian social entrepreneurs, this label was implemented under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Economy. The VSE can be applied for via the submission portal of Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH (aws).

Requirements

All that is required is proof of commercial activity (business license or UID number) and the central social orientation, Impact First. Then that’s what makes social entrepreneurs so special, the focus of their business model on solving a societal – ecological or social – problem. Profits generated as part of the entrepreneurial approach are primarily used to achieve this impact.

In order to prove this impact orientation, the applicant must present their impact framework and explain it in an impact report. In addition, a clear commitment to the societal orientation in the statutes or articles of association is required. All of these documents can be easily uploaded to the aws submission portal. The existence of the social contribution is checked by an independent Impact Board.

Support and advice

SENA advises the applicants on all content-related questions, be it on impact framework, impact reporting, the text modules in articles of association or statutes, and makes the relevant documents available at https://www.sena.or.at/vse. Personal consultation appointments can also be arranged here.

The Social Business Hub Styria is also happy to advise interested parties:

Contact:
info@socialbusinesshub.at
+43 699 19036466

Added value

If the assessment is positive, the company is also listed as a Verified Social Enterprise in the companies AZ of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. This makes it easy for outsiders to search for social enterprises in Austria using various filter criteria. An attractive tool for potential donors and other supporters.

But it is even more important that with the VSE, the social entrepreneurship sector can be made tangible and addressable for the first time. The label is an important signal for building trust. Until now, every company could claim to be a social enterprise. Now there is an external body that checks whether the necessary criteria actually exist. In this way, targeted supporting measures and framework conditions for the sector can also be demanded and offered in the future.