We advise companies that participate in the social economy.
These companies have distinct legal natures but have in common that they share, to varying degrees, a particular purpose of service to the community.
Through their joint efforts, the share of these companies in the global economy and in employment is increasing.
First, associations that are not for profit and do not distribute income to its members, either directly or indirectly: these are asbl, aisbl, foundations and de facto associations. The terms “associations” and “non-profit institutions” (NPIs) refer to them. These associations may be the emblematic figures of the social economy, from which they are at the origin.
Among the associations, there are many completely different realities:
- Size: small voluntary associations and large associations managed as a commercial enterprise.
- Legal personality: some associations do not have legal personality
- Sectors: Associations are represented in almost all sectors of the economy. We work for cooperatives active in the energy sector, as well as for associations active in the promotion of civil rights and equality, and for associations that protect the environment.
- Economic activity: These associations are sometimes financed solely by donations, sponsorship or subsidies. Sometimes by an activity of their own, they have an ancillary economic activity.
- Participation of public authorities: some social “enterprises” are partially or totally financed and/or controlled by the public authorities.
Secondly, companies which, like other commercial companies, have shareholders, but which have a social purpose recognised in their articles of association and a limited distribution of dividends.
We find the same distinctions as those outlined for associations. More traditional companies, which redistribute part of their income.