Social economy and entrepreneurship: central to the Lyon area’s development

The social economy (SE) and social innovation sit at the intersection of public policies, and contribute to their objectives by combining economic development, the fight against exclusion, environmental issues and solidarity. Lyon Métropole assists SE organisations and encourages experimentation in order to respond to the big challenges being faced across its territory. The goal? To consolidate the social-innovation projects being launched, help them develop on a large scale, and attract spin-out social enterprises to Lyon. Lyon Métropole’s ambition is to become the “European capital of social innovation”.

In February 2018, Lyon Métropole was awarded the territoire French Impact Label, with the purpose of developing social innovation. The label includes 16 local partners working on four priorities: housing, food accessibility, corporate property and the circular economy. Every effort is made to create conditions conducive to developing a responsible economy that takes account of social and environmental concerns.

Key figures

  • 6,500 establishments
  • 77,800 jobs, i.e. 12.5% of total jobs
  • In the private sector, the SE accounts for 9.90% of sites and 12.56% of jobs
  • €1M invested by Lyon Métropole and its partners in support of social innovation
  • More than 300 companies taking part in French Impact, an umbrella programme for the social and environmental innovation ecosystem

Social economy and the people of Lyon have a long history !

It was in Lyon that the Société du Devoir Mutuel (“Mutual Duty Company”, which purchased basic goods on a collective basis for the most deprived households), was established in 1828. It was the first in a long line of noteworthy innovations: the first consumer cooperative (1835), the first popular bank (1849), the first mutual pharmacy (1857)…

In the 1940s, Lyon also saw the creation of the non-profit Économie et Humanisme, which developed the concept of human economy and worked to formulate social policies and practices as well as to foster employment and solidarity. Most recently, in the 1990s, Lyon also saw “business and employment cooperatives” create the status of salaried entrepreneur.

These organisations have chosen the Lyon area


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