Social Work, Social Enterpreneurship and Innovation: theoretical contributions, cooperation with civil society and frameworks for Social Work education

The Social Work, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation axis is promising, from the point of view of the potential relationship between terms, and relatively untapped. In 2015, with the creation of the UC Entrepreneurship and Social Integration, which is an option for the PhD program in Social Work, a work of reflection began in this area, which has been substantiated in several initiatives that are now being organized under a trunk. common, giving it a more systematic character.

These initiatives include:

- The International Seminar “Social Work of / in the Company: Tradition and Innovation of a Changing Field” (held on November 23, 2017 at ISCTE-IUL);

- The orientation of two doctoral theses: “Innovation in Social Work: potentialities and limits of (social) entrepreneurship as a strategy of social integration” (Antonela Jesus, completed in 2019); “Social Work and Entrepreneurship: practices, perceptions and contributions” (Cristina Nascimento, started in 2017);

- The project "Cross-national social work and social innovation platform: social work curriculum improvement by co-creation" (funded by € 6000 by EASSW);

- The Impact Partnership project (currently being applied).


It is also our intention to materialize the contributions of the International Seminar “Social Work of / in the Company: Tradition and Innovation of a Changing Field” in book format, compiling the speeches of several participating professionals, but also of other social workers with activity. professional in entrepreneurial and social innovation entities, social and corporate responsibility, with whom meanwhile contacts have been established.

The Cross-National Social Work and Social Innovation Platform: Social Work Curriculum Improvement by Co-Creation project, which has now been funded by the European Association of Schools of Social Work, has developed from contacts established at international Social Work conferences. , an application has been prepared with a group of partner entities, namely: the NGO Jove Solides, the University of Valencia, the University of Alicante and the Portuguese Catholic University of Lisbon.Approved on 18 November 2019, the project aims to contribute to to place social innovation at the heart of social work training from a European network bringing together students, teachers, researchers, professionals from the third sector and government organizations.With this partnership, we aim to leverage other transnational working groups, notably with the PALOP, establishing international relations of cooperation for education and development.

The application submitted to the Impact Partnership program proposes the development of four main actions, namely: 1) Discussion group with experts from civil society organizations and local authorities on participation practices: potentialities, weaknesses, challenges; 2) Training groups with children from 5 to 12 years old, capacity building for participation, gathering ideas for the game; 3) Holding Thinktanks on participation for the wider community; 4) Building the participation game in collaboration with all partners and with inputs from previous actions. In this context, the CIES-IUL team will be mainly responsible for scientific coordination, thinktank animation and the development of an impact assessment system.


Thus, this project aims to (1) develop theoretical and conceptual contributions to the problem area in which it is situated through the development of research work; (2) establish relationships with civil society through action-research processes that enable learning to develop ways of developing social innovation processes, and (3) produce guidelines for the training of professionals, particularly social workers, who are more capable of pursuit of entrepreneurship and social innovation processes.


Research team:

Maria Inês Amaro (Coord.)

Antonela Jesus

Cristina Nascimento 

Start Date
End Date
External Partners
CIES-IUL - Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology
Data from Ciência-IUL