Do you know what a Social Enterprise is? Do you know what Social Enterprises are already doing in Sligo? Here’s your chance to find out more!
During October 2022 the first Sligo Social Enterprise Awareness month is being initiated with social enterprise content shared via the Sligo: Live Invest Visit social media channels and on the Sligo.ie website throughout the course of the month. In conjunction with other agencies, the Economic unit of Sligo County Council sought funds through the Department of Rural and Community Development to embark on an awareness campaign to promote the excellent work carried out by existing social enterprises in Sligo and to encourage more groups to go down that road.
This awareness project forms part of the Awareness Raising Initiatives for Social Enterprise (ARISE) scheme. The project was approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund.
Chief Executive of Sligo County Council, Martin Lydon states that
“the objective of the Sligo Social Enterprise Awareness month is to help increase awareness of social enterprises and their potential to deliver sustainable and inclusive development in alignment with the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022. A new social enterprise landing page has been set-up on Sligo.ie that features profiles of some of the social enterprises operating in County Sligo and the varied services that they provide”.
The National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland defines a social enterprise as an enterprise whose objective is to achieve a social, societal or environmental impact, rather than maximising profit for its owners or shareholders. It pursues its objectives by trading on an ongoing basis through the provision of goods and/or services and by reinvesting surpluses into achieving social objectives.
The Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Cllr. Michael Clarke notes that,
“in Sligo, social enterprises are providing a diverse range of services right across the county in areas such as tourism, heritage, recreation, remote working and community services. The social impact of the work that social enterprises carry out is far reaching and they are a growing part of social and economic life in Ireland”.
Social enterprise is a growing and vibrant strand of the wider economic and social landscape. Within Ireland, many social enterprises have their roots in the community and voluntary sector or were established by entrepreneurs that have utilised the social enterprise model to achieve their core mission objectives.
Sligo LEADER Partnership CEO, John Feerick says that
“social enterprises play an important role in the local economy and in social and cultural development. They are entrepreneurial and innovative and help to improve the lives of people. Sligo LEADER Partnership supports the development of new and existing social enterprises through component activities of the LEADER and SICAP programmes”.
The development of social enterprise is supported at EU level. In December 2021 the European Commission adopted an Action Plan on the European social economy. It was noted as part of the plan that there are an estimated 2.8 million social economy entities in Europe that employ 13.6 million people. This equates to 6.3% of the workforce. In Ireland, the Department of Rural and Community Development is assigned responsibility for the implementation of the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022. This is the first national policy produced that supports the development of Social Enterprise sector in Ireland. The policy focuses on three key objectives:
- Building Awareness of Social Enterprise
- Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise
- Achieving Better Policy Alignment
For more information on the Sligo Social Enterprise Awareness month visit www.sligo.ie/socialenterprise