Against the background of a renewed increase in poverty and social exclusion and particularly their concentration in certain urban neighborhoods as well as the current high level of attention for social entrepreneurship, this thesis investigates in which dimensions social enterprises are able to contribute to urban distict development in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. After an introductory discussion on selected aspects of present social change and the importance of the local economy as a coping strategy, the mode of operation of social enterprises is described and the international discourse on the social economy is summarised. Corresponding international examples of local economic approaches in the Netherlands and Germany are analyzed in order to identify positive effects of social enterprises on urban district development. In the last chapter the conditions and prospects for social enterprises in Vienna are presented, complemented by case studies of selected social enterprises. Finally, the support of social enterprises in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods in Vienna is being considered from a planning perspective.