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Minister Ring publishes first-ever Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland

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 .

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