Launch of The Wheel's Social Enterprise Publication
The Wheel was delighted to be joined by our social enterprise members, local representatives and our special guest Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD in launching our new social enterprise publication on 12 September.
‘Unlocking the Social Economy, Supporting Social Enterprise: A Platform for Progress’ frames the social enterprise landscape within the wider social economy in Ireland and in the EU. The publication also highlights the supports available from The Wheel and makes recommendations for a thriving social enterprise and social economy.
At the launch, which took place in the Ulster Canal Stores, Co. Monaghan, Minster Humphreys highlighted in her remarks the incredible potential of social enterprise to contribute to our economy during the green and digital transitions. Indeed, the Minister and the current Irish Government more broadly have been vocal supporters of social enterprise and the social economy during their time in office. The National Social Enterprise Policy 2019-2022 has been instrumental in the progression of social enterprise for the past number of years and with a review and update of that policy on the horizon, there is a real commitment from Government to invest in and support the sector.
Joining the Minister in addressing attendees was:
- Paul O’Sullivan, The Wheel’s designated representative on the board of Social Economy Europe, gave an overview of the overall social economy in the international context, and in particular the role of the EU’s Social Economy Action Plan and its recognition of the social economy as a key industrial ecosystem in the green and digital transitions
- Emma Murtagh, European Programmes Manager at The Wheel, who outlined our growing work in the social economy space at EU level, and the recommendations made in the A Platform for Progress publication.
- Hugh Tunney, Manager of Ulster Canal Stores, a social enterprise itself providing vital local supports in the Clones area, including a cultural visitor centre, Meals on Wheels service, and a community meeting space and restaurant
- Tracy Keogh, social entrepreneur and co-founder of the hugely successful social enterprise Grow Remote. Tracy talked to the experience of setting up a social enterprise from scratch and how essential supportive networks like The Wheel are to organisations trying to nurturing social innovation.
The Wheel views the publication of this document as a key movement in the support of our community of social enterprise members. We would encourage everyone to read the full document, which outlines a series of recommendations to Government to better support Irish social enterprise and the wider social economy, including more business supports and funding, a comprehensive skills strategy, and awareness both within and outside of the sector to build understanding of social enterprises.
It is a promising time for social enterprise in Ireland and we aim to continue to uplift social enterprises to do what they do best; tackle social issues, deliver essential public services and regenerate their communities. Having recently built designated capacity in the form of our new Social Enterprise Officer and with our Social Enterprise Hub up and running, we are looking forward to the future of social enterprise.
If you have any questions around The Wheel’s work in social enterprise, don’t hesitate to contact me, Sean Darcy, here: email@example.com.