Parliament on Thursday passed into law a bill allowing social enterprises to be set up in the Republic of Cyprus.
The legislation, that received 50 votes in favour and three abstentions, establishes a legal framework under which certain legal entities, such as companies, cooperatives and other legal entities, can be registered as social enterprises under certain conditions, with the ultimate goal of developing an alternative form of entrepreneurship in the Republic.
Social enterprises are typically organizations that apply commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being, and usually involve an integration of social impact into business operations.
MPs discussing the legislation at the parliamentary committee on interior affairs said social enterprises would be able to offer goods and services that are not currently offered by the state, and pointed to the potential of granting tax breaks to such businesses in the future.
Addressing parliament, the AKEL MP and head of the parliamentary committee, Eleni Mavrou, hailed the new legislation as one that allows the establishment of businesses that to a large extent give back their profits to society and a whole, and ones that provide employment opportunities to marginal members of the population such as the disabled, the unemployed, ex-cons, and single parents.