Exploring Social Enterprise, Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, 9 March 2016
There are currently over 1,400 social enterprises in Ireland, employing an estimated 33,000 people. While there has been much debate over the years on what exactly constitutes a Social Enterprise, they are now generally defined as any enterprise:
that trades for a social/society purpose;
where at least part of its income is earned from its trading activity;
that is separate from government; and
where the surplus is primarily re-invested in the social objective.
There are a wide range of social enterprises in Ireland, including community enterprises and cooperatives, and many organisations in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown already operate under this model in areas including transport, media, sports / recreation and the arts to name just a few.
But as always there is potential for more and the possible opportunities are endless including, recycling, childcare, green energy, retail, café/catering, consulting and training to name but a few.
Clann Credo - the Social Investment Fund is a social enterprise which provides loans to community organisations, charities and social enterprises.
Community Finance (Ireland), formerly UCIT (Ireland), is a Charity which provides loans exclusively to other third sector organisations such as community groups, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises in the Republic of Ireland.
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland supports social entrepreneurs through their Awards Programme and provides direct support to high-potential emerging social entrepreneurs.
The Irish Social Enterprise Network works to help social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and social innovators in getting their idea off the ground and providing the supports to grow.
Some examples of successful Social Enterprises include:
Dublin South FM is an alternative to mainstream radio and provides a voice for those under-represented or excluded, through training and access to radio broadcasting facilities.
Accessible Community Transport Southside (ACTSLtd) provides door to door demand responsive accessible transport for people with disabilities and mobility difficulties across south and west Dublin.
Founded in 1953 St Joseph’s Boys AFC is a schoolboy/girl football club based in Sallynoggin on the south side of Dublin.
Deilg Inis Theatre Company was founded in 2003 and is the only full-time professional theatre company in Ireland devoted to helping people tell their unique stories - in terms of physical place, social history, and literary heritage.
Third Spaces are places for local people to gather & eat easily, inexpensively & regularly, with space for creative, cultural and community activities.