Mr Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development , today (21 November 2019) opened Ireland’s first National Conference on Social Enterprise at Croke Park, Dublin. The conference, attended by almost 200 delegates, coincides with International Social Enterprise Day and recognises the contribution which social enterprise make to Ireland’s economic and social development. It aims to build awareness, engage stakeholders, share information about policy priorities and create space for networking and collaborating.
Opening the Conference, Minister Ring said:
The Minister continued:
Key speakers at the conference include Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland; Gerry Higgins, Managing Director of Social Enterprise World Forum; John McMullan, Chairperson of Social Enterprise Northern Ireland; Iseult Ward CEO and Co-founder of FoodCloud and Michael Kelly, CEO and Founder of Grow-it-Yourself.
Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive, Julie Sinnamon, said:
Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. 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 the core social objectives.
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.
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
The holding of an annual Social Enterprise Conference is one of the commitments made in the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 to allow stakeholders to share best practice, inform policy implementation and future social enterprise policy development. The theme of the conference is “Unlocking the transformational potential of Social Enterprise in Ireland”. The conference has been designed to be participative and allow for the views of all the delegates to be shared.