CPA Ireland officially launched its “Social Enterprise Report – The Irish and International Landscapes” today and is delighted to take this opportunity to showcase the social enterprise sector in this report, a sector that has the potential to create up to 40,000 jobs and contribute €2billion to the economy.
Social Enterprise is not a new phenomenon in Ireland and has operated successfully here for many decades; the credit union movement and the housing and agricultural cooperatives are examples.
And although prevalent in Irish policy discourse since the 1990s, and as highlighted by many of the contributors to this report, there is still no nationally agreed definition of, or specific legal identity for, social enterprises in Ireland.
The most recent definition of a Social Enterprise by Forfás describes a social enterprise as ‘an enterprise that trades for a social/ societal purpose, where at least part of its income is earned from its trading activity, is separate from government, and where the surplus is primarily reinvested in the social objective’. (Forfás (2013) Social Enterprise in Ireland: Sectoral Opportunities and Policy Issues, Forfás, Dublin.)
This report brings together contributions from some of the leading experts in this sector, both nationally and internationally, in an effort to highlight the importance and the benefits of Social Enterprise to the Irish economy.
CPA Ireland, hope that this report will contribute to keeping this sector at the forefront of political discourse. We are very grateful to all the contributors, many of whom work tirelessly to change the landscape for this sector in Ireland. The case studies in this report highlight the innovative solutions being applied to social and ethical problems using a social enterprise model.