Above: Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD. Image courtesy of Twitter
Social Enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact rather than maximising profit for the business owners or shareholders. Like other businesses, Social Enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving their core social objectives.
They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, the Traveller community, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Monday, 22 February), announced a new €800,000 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme to help Social Enterprises recover from the impact of COVID-19.
As stated previously social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a societal or environmental impact.
The Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme will provide supports through training and mentoring to help social enterprises strengthen their operations and improve their services.
Announcing the programme, Minister Humphreys said :
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the invaluable role played by Social Enterprises in their communities.
“Across Ireland throughout the pandemic, Social Enterprises have made an important contribution in areas such as mental health, social inclusion and the circular economy.
“Today, I am delighted to announce the COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme which will help Social Enterprises to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“The programme, which is funded through the Dormant Accounts Fund, will provide free training and mentoring to social enterprise managers, directors and staff across the country.
“It will place a particular focus on strategic planning, digital innovation, capacity building and governance. It will also assist social enterprises to strengthen their operations, and improve their services.”
The Minister added :
“The COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme builds on successful schemes for Social Enterprises funded by my Department in recent years, such as the Training and Mentoring Scheme and the Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprises.
“The new funding I am announcing today underscores my commitment to supporting Social Enterprises and to delivering the National Social Enterprise Policy which was published by my Department in 2019.
“The programme will be delivered by the Local Development Companies on a regional basis and will be managed on the Department’s behalf by the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN).
“This will allow ease of access for Social Enterprises in all areas of Ireland, as well as utilising the localised expertise of the Local Development Companies.”
National Social Enterprise Policy
Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 was launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the objective of creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to grow and contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.
The Policy is focused on three main objectives:
1. Building Awareness of Social Enterprise
2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise
3. Achieving Better Policy Alignment
Find out more: here.