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Press Release

Minister Ring publishes first-ever Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland

Published: 18 July 2019
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

Policy will enable social enterprises to increase their impact on society

Mr Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today published a new National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland.

Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal or environmental impact. Like other businesses, social enterprises trade in goods or services on an ongoing basis. However, any surpluses they generate are re-invested into achieving a social impact.

Speaking at the launch of the new policy at Speedpak CLG, a social enterprise based in Coolock, Dublin,

Minister Ring said:

“For many years, social enterprises have provided a flexible and effective model which has delivered a positive response to social and societal issues. Social enterprises deliver a range of services across a wide spectrum of activities through their business model. They are innovative and entrepreneurial and frequently find new ways to address social, societal or environmental challenges in areas such as employment activation, affordable childcare, and the green economy. In doing so, social enterprises contribute significantly to the delivery of many Government policy objectives.”

The Minister continued:

“For a number of years, there have been calls for a Government policy to help social enterprise to reach its full potential. I am delighted, therefore, to be able to publish this National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland which will enable social enterprise to grow in scale, support jobs, and make a positive impact on individuals and communities in both rural and urban areas.
“This is the first Government Policy for Social Enterprise in the history of the State, so it is a defining moment for all who are working for a better Ireland through a social enterprise approach. The Policy and the commitments it contains will enable social enterprise to contribute even more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress. Today marks the start of a new phase in the development of social enterprise in Ireland.”

The National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland is focused on three key Objectives: (1) Building Awareness of Social Enterprise; (2) Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise and (3) Achieving Better Policy Alignment. The Policy sets out a series of 26 commitments on the part of Government across these Objectives for the development of social enterprise over the period 2019-2022. These commitments will be delivered in partnership with social enterprise stakeholders.

Minister Ring added:

“It is fitting that the new Social Enterprise Policy should be launched in the premises of the Speedpak Group. Speedpak was founded in the 1990s in North Dublin City to address the issue of high unemployment in one of Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas. To date, Speedpak has employed and trained over 1,150 people, bringing a significant impact to individuals and families in these communities. The company is a great example of what a social enterprise can accomplish and I wish them continued success in the future.
“As our society faces new challenges over the coming years, I believe that social enterprises can continue to identify and deliver new and innovative ways to address those challenges and create a sustainable and inclusive future for everyone. Through this National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland, the Government will support social enterprises to achieve those objectives.”

The event at Speedpak CLG was catered by Mugshot, a social enterprise established to provide barista training and employment opportunities for ex-offenders.

The full National Social Enterprise Policy is available here .

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, travellers, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.

There is a wide spectrum of social enterprises in Ireland, from local community-based enterprises to larger enterprises, some of which trade internationally. They create employment and support many Government policy objectives in areas such as labour market activation, health care and the environment.

Like other businesses, social enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, any surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving social objectives, rather than maximising profit for their owners.

Their primary focus on social impact sometimes makes it difficult for social enterprises to gain access to the type of supports that are available to other enterprises to develop and grow.

The publication and implementation of the National Social Enterprise Policy will help to:

  • assist social enterprise in Ireland to grow in scale and to make a positive impact on individuals and communities in both rural and urban areas;
  • support direct job creation in social enterprises and facilitate many more individuals to obtain employment through work experience and training;
  • improve awareness and understanding of social enterprises amongst the public generally;
  • improve access to supports that, up to now, have been difficult for social enterprises to access, including business-related training, advice and mentoring;
  • help to better harness the potential of social enterprises to support Government policy objectives in areas such as labour market activation, healthcare, social inclusion and environmental issues.

The Policy

This is the first ever policy for Social Enterprise in Ireland. There have been calls for such a policy for many years, and the publication of this Policy fulfils a commitment in the Action Plan for Rural Development and Future Jobs Ireland. Its publication represents a key milestone for social enterprises in Ireland.

The objective of the Policy is to support social enterprise to grow in scale and impact. It is focused on three key Objectives:

1. Creating Awareness of Social Enterprise

2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise

3. Achieving Better Policy Alignment

There are 26 Policy Measures or Actions to be delivered across the three Policy Objectives over the next 4 years, 2019-2022.

The full Policy is available here .

The National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland is part of a suite of policy initiatives from the Department of Rural and Community Development to support those who work with communities and disadvantaged groups. Other initiatives include a new Strategy for the Community and Voluntary Sectors and a new National Volunteering Strategy, both of which will be published this year.

Speedpak CLG

Speedpak Group is an award-winning, Dublin-based social enterprise. Founded in the 1990s by the Northside Partnership in collaboration with the local business community, its purpose was to address the issue of high unemployment in one of Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas.

The company now operates two commercial businesses, Speedpak CLG and Shamrock Rosettes, to support long term unemployed people get back to work by providing real work experience, accredited industry training, mentoring and tailored supports. The company also has a Learning Centre facility onsite.

Speedpak CLG operates on the philosophy that the combination of trading and training transforms lives. Trainees secure greater financial independence through employment and job resilience through education and training.

Through its industry network, Speedpak CLG can match previously unemployed talent with available jobs. To date, the company has employed and trained over 1,150 people on Dublin’s Northside, bringing a significant social impact to individuals and families in these communities.

Most recently Speedpak Group, with philanthropic support, has partnered with industry and its local college, Coláiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education, to deliver a new National Traineeship in Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Customer Service Logistics.

Speedpak CLG provides a range of Business Order fulfilment and dispatch services. Further information on Speedpak Group is available at www.speedpakgroup.com.