Social Innovation

A fast-growing number of players are cottoning on to the fact that without social and environmental innovation, serious societal problems, which are extremely complex and underpin the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the 2030 UN Agenda, cannot be solved. The search for innovative and sustainable solutions that generate positive social and environmental impacts for the benefit of the Community and the Planet by non-profit entities and so-called "social enterprises" has gained momentum in the national social and business environment and made Portugal a front runner in Europe.

Absent a specific legal framework for these "social enterprises" or other "hybrid" structures, certain social innovation projects face considerable uncertainties and challenges in their development but the entrepreneurial nature of the promoters coupled with the committed involvement of several Social Economy organizations has allowed these important projects to mushroom and thrive.

As part of our Pro Bono commitment, VdA has been closely monitoring the creation and development of these social innovation projects and supporting their promoters for a long time. We seek to develop creative, innovative and tailor-made legal solutions to beat the main legal challenges, working together with the relevant public and private stakeholders that play a major role in promoting this ecosystem in Portugal.  


  • Strategic advice on the most suitable legal structure for each individual project
  • Incorporating hybrid structures and other vehicles that focus on social and environmental impact issues while attracting investors
  • Drafting tailor-made articles of association and governance models
  • Tax advice to optimize social innovation projects in accordance with their specific structure
  • Assisting in the incorporation and registration proceedings of the selected vehicle
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Supporting the globalization and expansion of national social innovation and entrepreneurship projects (such as social franchising)
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