Finance and the Third Sector: focus on financial needs of social enterprises

The image accompanying the News on the presentation of the XII edition of the "Observatory on Finance and the Third Sector - Cooperatives and Social Enterprises" portrays a smiling young man in informal clothes in a wheelchair, accompanied by a young woman with whom he is talking , in front of a white vehicle used to transport several people.

Intesa Sanpaolo and AICCON Research Center presented the 12th edition of the Observatory on Finance and the Third Sector, which monitors the changing state of the supply and demand of finance for the third sector.

The survey focused on three crucial issues for social enterprises: relationships with banks, social impact finance, financial needs and future prospects.

The main findings of the Observatory included:

  • the relationship between social enterprises and banks is highly satisfactory for more than 86% of respondents, due in particular to dedicated, trained staff (34%) and a dedicated strategic service area (around 21%)
  • social enterprises see banks as organisations that can offer specialised advice and support with development plans (34%), in addition to providing dedicated credit services (40%)
  • more than 41% of organisations also ask for support and advice from banks in the area of training on the structuring of new organisational models (44.1%) and impact assessment (20.7%).

The study also found that in recent years third sector organisations have had to rethink their strategies to continue supporting social and health needs, with the emergence of new hybrid organisational forms, increased demand for qualified personnel, and the need to diversify available resources through novel forms of financing.

The presentation of the Observatory also served as an occasion for a preview of a survey conducted by the Intesa Sanpaolo Research Department with colleagues from the Impact Department: it  confirmed the active role played by the social economy in Italy, against the backdrop of high inflation and rising poverty, which climbed to 9.7% in 2022 (from 9.1% in 2021), with peaks of 20.7% among families with at least three children.

Through its Impact Department, Intesa Sanpaolo is strongly committed and structured with a network and dedicated solutions to assist and support the third sector with projects, business plans, financial assessments and communication plans.

AICCON – Research Centre is promoted by the University of Bologna, the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives and numerous public and private organisations operating within a social economy context. It is based at the School of Economics and Management of Forlì - University of Bologna.

The Observatory on Finance and the Third Sector was presented at the event "New Geography for the Social Economy" held in Milan on 16 November 2023.