Social Enterprise

Did you know that the Colgan Hall is a ‘Social Enterprise’?

In a nutshell, we are a business that trades in order to provide essential services to our community; to tackle some of the biggest problems in society and to address environmental issues. With the profits we generate from trading, our social enterprise reinvests back into the business or the local community, continuing to provide benefits to our community.

National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022

Notwithstanding their important role in the delivery of services to individuals and communities, social enterprises in Ireland have not yet reached their full potential for a number of reasons, including the absence of a clear policy framework to support their development. A lack of understanding of what social enterprises are, and what they do, has also contributed to a general lack of awareness of social enterprises in Ireland and has made it difficult to collect reliable data on their social and economic impact. There have been many calls for supports from Government for the development of social enterprise over the last decade. Until recently, supports for social enterprise have been dispersed across a number of Government Departments and this has resulted in a lack of clarity around where policy responsibility for social enterprise lies. In July 2017, the Government assigned policy responsibility for social enterprise to the newly established Department of Rural and Community Development. The strategic objectives of the Department include the advancement of the economic and social development of both rural and urban communities, and enabling communities disadvantaged by location or social issues to reach their full potential. Social enterprise is also gaining in recognition as a component of the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem. Through this National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland, the Government’s objective is to create an enabling environment for social enterprise in Ireland to grow and contribute to Ireland’s social and economic progress. The implementation of the Policy will open new opportunities for social enterprises to address social and environmental challenges, contribute to the revitalisation of local communities throughout the country, and support many of those most vulnerable in society.

The Policy sets out a series of commitments on the part of Government for the development of social enterprise over the period 2019-2022. These commitments will be delivered in partnership with social enterprise stakeholders to support a strong and vibrant social enterprise ecosystem in Ireland. Some of these measures will be delivered in a short time-frame, while others will require on-going development over the lifetime of the policy.