Enterprise Week Spotlight Falls On Social Economy

Invest Northern Ireland continued its series of Enterprise Week events today with a seminar targeted at the social economy sector.

A joint initiative between Invest NI and the Social Economy Network, the ‘Social Economy Counts!’ seminar was designed to recognise and encourage social entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. The event provided detailed insights into success stories from a number of social enterprises and highlighted the support available to such organisations.

Social enterprises operate to a commercial business model but also focus on delivering economic, social and environmental benefits to society.

Over 90 social economy enterprises, support providers, emerging businesses and key stakeholders registered for the event at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, to hear from local best practice champions including the Irvinestown Trustee Enterprise Company, Enniskillen, Oasis Trading Ltd, Belfast and the Praxis Care Group, Belfast.

Keynote speaker Andrew Robinson, Head of Community Banking with NatWest Royal Bank of Scotland focused on the variety of funding issues affecting the sector and how social enterprises can secure financial support for their ventures and reduce dependency on grant based funding.

Speaking at the event, Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive, Invest NI said: “Building a stronger social economy is an important part of our entrepreneurship strategy. Developing enterprise and building social capital are key components of a modern successful economy. The right combination of these two elements can be very powerful to energise and drive social change, leading to improved quality of life and increased wealth creation.

“Invest NI is committed to ensuring its policies and programmes assist in the development of the sector’s potential to deliver both social goals and economic value as efficiently as business, generally.”

Mr Morrison continued: “Enterprise Week has been designed to promote enterprise and increase entrepreneurial activity across Northern Ireland. In doing so, we will strengthen the regional economy and give local firms, including those in the social economy sector, the confidence to compete in external markets.”