This paper examines to what extend there is complementarity between social entreprneurship and regional EU cross-border cooperation. We argue that both concepts build upon similar drivers and characteristics with the aim of creating impact and bringing about change. We test and improve our initially literature-based framework to provide a better insight into how institutional and entrepreneurial processes could benefit from each other.
We interviewed experts operating at different governance levels and in various EU countries and border regions. The complementarity between both concepts is confirmed considering a differentiation between governance levels and fields of expertise. The results show that complementarity between the concepts mainly exists in terms of taking advantage of opportunities for a certain effect. The commercial activities of social enterprises are seen as effective, but it is necessary for social enterprises to establish sustainable EU cross-border cooperation and to improve regional social and economic development.