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.
SOME EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL ENTERPRISES INCLUDE
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.
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.