Evolving Social Justice through Solidarity Economy: Analysis of New Emerging Models of Social Entrepreneurship in Lebanon

This policy paper offers an in-depth analysis of new models of social enterprises (SEs) emerging in Lebanon and incubated by the Social Justice Incubation Program (SJIP) under the SEE Change project. By leveraging the theoretical framework of the first International Comparative Social Enterprise Models — specifically the Institutional Trajectories and Resulting SE Models by Defourny and Nyssens (2016) — the paper explores the transitional role that these incubated SEs play within the Lebanese context. It investigates how these new models have emerged, adapting to, and enriching the local social enterprise landscape with diverse types and cultures of initiatives. This policy paper examines the 20 incubated initiatives, outlining their primary activities and it emphasizes the crucial need to acknowledge the diversity and cultural nuances of social enterprises (SEs) operating in countries without specific policies for SEs, like Lebanon. It highlights a significant gap in the existing research and policy planning frameworks, which is essential for effectively nurturing and scaling these enterprises in line with their diverse characteristics and unique cultural implications. This gap highlights the necessity for policies that recognize the various typologies, missions, and entrepreneurial cultures of SEs, which are pivotal in driving economic transformation and advocating for social justice.

The paper delves into the role of SEs in economic transformation and the pursuit of social justice, illustrating how these entities contribute to creating equitable and sustainable economies in different sector: culture, education, agriculture, tourism, governance, waste management, artisan, circular economy. It discusses the potential of SEs to address social, economic, and environmental challenges through innovative solutions that are deeply embedded in local cultures and needs. By addressing the variability in the impact and approach of SEs according to their mission and the culture of entrepreneurship, the paper emphasizes the importance of adapting policy and support mechanisms to these diverse operational strategies. It concludes with targeted policy recommendations designed to bridge the identified gaps. These recommendations advocate for the development of inclusive policy frameworks, research methodologies capable of capturing the nuanced impacts of SEs, and support mechanisms adaptable to the varied needs of these enterprises. The policy paper underscores the critical role of social economy initiatives in shaping resilient, equitable, and sustainable futures, urging a shift towards more nuanced, inclusive, and supportive approaches to social enterprises in Lebanon and similar contexts lacking specific SE policies. Through this analysis, the paper contributes to a deeper understanding of the multifaceted role of SEs in fostering social justice and economic transformation.