Foster launches new NICVA social enterprise scheme

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today launched the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action’s (NICVA) new social enterprise scheme, Sector Matters Ltd.

The scheme is aimed at providing back office and ancillary services to enable voluntary and community organisations, as well as small and medium sized enterprises, to operate more effectively.

Speaking at the launch at NICVA’s Belfast headquarters, the Minister said: "As the member organisation for the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland, NICVA provides invaluable support and leadership to its membership of almost 1,000 organisations, and to the sector as a whole.

"The social economy accounts for a significant proportion of the Northern Ireland economy in terms of both economic activity and employment. It provides up to 8% of economic activity in Northern Ireland and employs over 30,000 people.

"This new scheme will provide a range of tailored services to best meet client needs, whether it is human resource advice, assistance with finances or management support."

Sector Matters Ltd has received support from the Social Enterpreneurship Programme. Launched by Arlene Foster in June 2009, the Programme (SEP) supports the social economy sector, encouraging and supporting participation in business start-up and growth.

The Minister added: "Social enterprises contribute to the achievement of many objectives of the Programme for Government, including the development of a dynamic, innovative society. I have seen the real difference that these enterprises have made on people’s lives, particularly in terms of their impact on local communities and areas of economic disadvantage."