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Social Enterprises in Israel

Benjamin Gidron, Oren Kaplan, Dafna Kariv and Yisca Monnickendam-Givon - COMA’s School of Business Administration Israel

Abstract: The development of the Israeli Social Enterprise phenomenon has historically been linked to the country’s entrepreneurial and collective ethos. In the last decades, a weakening welfare state and growing neoliberal conceptions led to growing social gaps and unattended social needs. The financial crises in 2008/9 caused reductions in philanthropic donations. The ensuing social protests of 2011 led to the need in finding alternative financial sustainable models for solving social problems. Given these developments, a new brand of social enterprises were developed in the past 5-7 years, shaped by the interplay of public, private, cooperative, and nonprofit organizations legal frameworks. SEs cover different areas of activity. A majority are related to employment solutions (WISEs), societal inclusion or social services. As of now no particular legal form and no specific definition exist for SEs, which makes an assessment of SEs and their societal impact rather difficult. It remains to be seen how this phenomenon will grow, impact society, and affect the welfare state.