University of Northampton helps develop Strasbourg Declaration on the Future of Social Enterprise in Europe

Date 16.11.2015

​​Professor Simon Denny attended the largest and most important social enterprise conference yet to be held in Europe, which took place on 16 and 17 January 2014.

The conference, attended by over 2,000 social entrepreneurs, policy makers and academics from across the EU, had the aim of creating a declaration, which sets out ideas for possible future action to support the growth of social enterprise in Europe. The participants, which included several of the University’s social enterprise partners, including Jonathan Bland of Social Business International and Dai Powell, an honorand of the University, worked extremely hard and produced two documents – a declaration of principles and some suggestions for possible actions.

Professor Denny was delighted that two of ten elements of the Declaration reflect the University’s successful Inspire2Enterprise initiative (item 4) and the work it is doing to help transform the delivery of public services in the UK (item 6).

The declaration was presented to EU Commissioner Michel Barnier, who in turn will present it to President Barroso and the College of the Commission.

Michel Barnier, who has championed the development of social enterprise policy in the EU, described the Strasbourg Declaration as the best example of bottom-up policy development the EU has ever seen.

Professor Denny commented, “Being part of the 2,000 people from all EU countries working to devise the Declaration was an extraordinarily positive experience. What we need to do now is to influence the new European Parliament to be elected in May and the new Commission that will be in place this autumn.

“My vision is that we get tens of thousands of people signing up, either as individuals or behalf of their organisation.  We need all students and staff that care about social enterprise and everybody in the UK social enterprise movement to commit to the Declaration to demonstrate to the European Parliament and Commission the strength of social enterprise in Britain.  I urge everybody to sign it!”

The Commission has put the Declaration on line and from 22 January people can sign up to support it at

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