Social Enterprise is alive in Ireland

There can be no doubt that social enterprise is alive and well in Ireland. Thanks to the hundreds of people who came out and those that took part in our online discussions on #ISEC14. It has been ab overwhelmingly positive conference and one that we are already planning for for next year.

CIC’s in Ireland

One of the standouts from the conference has been the support for Community Interest Company law in Ireland. The conference heard form Sara Burgess, the CIC Regulator in the UK, on the challenges for social enterprises without the law. Important components such as ‘asset locks’ and ‘capped director remuneration’ were key selling points to social enterprises in the UK. From the conference, 97% of the respondents of our survey on the day urged the Irish Social Enterprise Network to do all in it’s power to introduce CIC law into Ireland.

The Scottish Perspective

It would be hard to ignore the changes that have happened in Scotland over the past number of years. A lot of the social enterprise sector has grown substantially and the idea of ‘capitalism with a conscience’ has been embraced widely in political circles in the country. The effect of the positive intervention and recognition has led to tens of thousands of  viable jobs and supports being made available to all enterprises on the social spectrum. Our colleague and guest speaker Fraser Kelly of Social Enterprise Scotland gave the conference a sense of the positivity and the challenges being faced by the sector and scope to do more.

Learning points

We are still learning from the conference and compiling the thousands of words written down and spoken at the sessions. But a few outstanding points from the conference for the Irish Social Enterprise Network would be:

  1. Government need to do more to support social enterprise
  2. Community Interest Companies are wanted in Ireland
  3. The Network has grown substantially and plays a pivotal role in representing the views of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and social innovators
  4. Great social enterprises exist in Ireland
  5. There is scope to do more and there are hundreds of people wanting to help on the journey

We have only put to post, some of our first thoughts from what was an incredible event. We have to thank all those who helped make it happen including the DCU Ryan Academy and the Board of the Irish Social Enterprise Network. If you have views or thoughts on the network, please feel free to tell us at any stage at 

More views and opinions on the conference to come!

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