Legal information on Social Entrepreneurship... in Bulgaria

In the Bulgarian legislation there is no legal definition of social enterprise, nor are there any rules that regulate their status, form and activities. A Bulgarian legal act where the term "social enterprise" is used still does not exist.

In April 2012, Bulgaria developed a National Social Economy Concept as an expression of the political involvement of the government institutions and social partners for creation of a favourable environment for the development of social economy models and practices. This concept was drafted and discussed with broader involvement and participation of social partners, SE representatives NGOs.
Non-Profit Legal Entities Act which has been in force since 1st of January 2001 gives the opportunity of NGOs to develop economic activity.

The amendments of the Social Assistance Act which are in force since January 2003 provide a good ground for valuable partnership between the state and third sector. It guarantees a legal opportunity and mechanism for delegation of social services from the municipalities to social sevices contractors. The amendments in the Social Assistance Act from 2003 differentiate two types of social assistance: provision of subsidy and provision of services. Social services are based on social work and include assistance to people in need in doing everyday activities and social inclusion.

Unfortunately, the legal status is one of the main and most serious problems which Bulgarian SE face. The lack of a specific legal regulation of their activity results in frequent problems with representatives of the state and local control authorities because they don't understand their organizational structure, there is no template for implementing such kind of activity and the control instutions doubt in corruption schemes or an attempt for personal profit.

A plan for the development of the social economy is expected in early 2014 and should support the work of municipalities in the field. In addition, a permanent working group on the social economy and social entrepreneurship should be created within the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, a sign of the importance accorded by the government to the social economy in Bulgaria.