Welcome to the Social Firms Europe CEFEC website

Social Firms Europe CEFEC is a European Network of Social Firms, Social Co-operatives, NGO’s and organizations that all share the objective of creating paid work for disabled and disadvantaged people.

Social Firms Europe CEFEC is the only network of Social Firms across Europe!

At a time when employment is increasingly difficult for individuals who are at a significant distance from the labour market because of their disability or disadvantage, it is essential that we create the jobs for such groups and one of the most obvious solutions is to facilitate the start-up and operation of Social Firm and social co-operative businesses that offer real, paid, sustainable employment options within a supportive working environment.

Why is CEFEC successfull – Some Unique Features

This year CEFEC celebrates 30 years of operation in the field of work and employment for disabled and disadvanted people across Europe.

But how do we differ from other organisations working in the same field?

What are our unique features?

Since it’s launch in 1987, CEFEC, an EU-approved NGO and Europe-wide network, has supported and promoted social firms for disabled and disadvantaged in more than 15 countries. It has supported life-changing initiatives, advised a wide range of organisations and worked hard with policy makers to set standards to improve the employment prospects of our target groups – thereby contributing to the wellfare of a huge number of people in many regions.

Our success is due in large part to:

  • Our approach of integrating pratice and science in relevant areas, such as
    • Psychiatry and educational science
    • Sociology
    • Business economy
    • Organisational science
    • Social science
    • Employment law
  • Emphasis on empowering and supporting the self-help of users and managers by peer counselling.
  • Lobbying decision and policymakers at european, national and local levels.
  • Transfer of knowledge and experience by seminars, workshops, projects and more.
  • Holding the very popular annual conference for over 30 Years in 17 European countries, reviewing the situation in member countries and creating a strong common platform.
  • Operating EU-sponsored projects between European countries to implement social firms.
  • Encouraging the participation of users at all levels.
  • Setting frameworks and quality standards such as the „Linz Appeal“ for social firms.
  • Welcoming and supporting those from various areas of therapy and rehabilitation aiming to set up social firms.
  • Inspiring each other!

In addition, our strongly held values of:

  • Trust and continous cooperation between practitioners and policy makers as well as the
  • Respect for cultural and other differences in approaches to developing social firms.
  • Adherence to the relevant UN Convention on the operation of social firms for the disabled

By Mrs. Christiane Haerlin, Germany