GROUPE SOS is an umbrella social enterprise overseeing 350 structures addressing social needs.
Focus: Education, health, housing, seniors, youth
Region of impact: Primarily France, with activities in 35 countries
Model: Social Innovation Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 1 million (2014)
Annual Budget: €700 million (2015)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100%
The Social Problem
Social inequality in the European Union is a major issue and government agencies, facing budgetary restrictions, have difficulty responding to the increasing number of social needs, in particular for the most disadvantaged. In France alone, an estimated number of 8.6 million people live below the poverty line and over 3 million are unemployed.
Innovation and Activities
GROUPE SOS oversees many distinct business units that are all social enterprises in their own right guided by universal principles: address social needs, provide market-based solutions, and focus only on the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and regions. Strengthened by its deep expertise and sophisticated management tools, GROUPE SOS has incorporated numerous organizations over the years and created new ones. Today, with 14,000 employees and 350 structures, GROUPE SOS is arguably the world’s largest social enterprise.
GROUPE SOS’s portfolio of services encompasses youth, employment, health, senior citizens, and more. For example, the group provides help to over 10.000 children every year, adapting its actions to each specific case, and striving to maintain family ties whenever possible. Another GROUPE SOS enterprise oversees 53 retirement homes. In addition, GROUPE SOS enterprise runs eight hospitals serving more than 400,000 patients a year.
In addition, GROUPE SOS offers temporary employment and training to support the long-term unemployed. GROUPE SOS runs vocational training enterprises. Thanks to partnerships with large corporations such as Total, 75% of trainees find permanent or temporary employment after their GROUPE SOS vocational training. GROUPE SOS estimates each euro invested in its vocational and job training programmes for the long-term unemployed saves European governments three euros in social welfare and related costs.
GROUPE SOS’s family of social enterprises directly impact over one million people annually in 35 countries.
Jean-Marc Borello started his career as a teacher before becoming a civil servant. In 1997 he decided to focus full time on GROUPE SOS, a non-profit organization he had created in 1984. He is a Senior lecturer at Science Po Paris, a member of the High Council for Social Economy (Conseil Supérieur de l’Economie Sociale), a managing director of the magazines Interdependences, and Vice-President of the French organization Mouvement des Entrepreneurs Sociaux
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