New Book Explores Role of Social Enterprise

Social enterprises are poised to play a key role in Ireland’s economic recovery, according to a new book.

The book – Social Enterprise: a People’s Economy – was launched by Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD, who has a specific interest in social enterprise. According to the Minister, “social enterprise has a strong and growing presence in Ireland, building on deep roots of community organisation, self-help and enthusiasm for enterprise.”

This book brings together a broad range of contributions from a number of leading academics and practitioners from Ireland and Europe who possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in the social enterprise field,” he said.

Social enterprise can be defined as a business with social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for its social purpose of in the community, rather than driven by the need to maximise profits for shareholders and owners.

According to Gerard Doyle, one of the book’s editors “this is an exciting time for social enterprise with commitments in the Programme for Government and policy statements from the European Commission.”

Tanya Lalor, co-editor of the book stated that “the book considers the role of social enterprise in relation to such themes as renewable energy and the green economy, housing, social finance, tackling long-term unemployment, social procurement, and how social enterprises have been supported across the European Union.

Ireland has a strong history of social economy organisations and collective action – the credit union movement, agricultural cooperatives, and the GAA all point to Ireland’s strong community bonds, and our appetite for economic self-determination.

As communities look to social enterprise as a means of solving the problems created by economic mismanagement, this book makes an important contribution to the discussion on social enterprise and its potential in the renewal of our economy and is the first contemporary analysis of social enterprise in the current economic crisis.

Published by Oak Tree Press, the book draws together contributions from leading academics as well as practitioners in the social enterprise, finance, and community development sectors in Ireland and Europe.

Social Enterprise in Ireland: A People’s Economy? is edited by Gerard Doyle and Tanya Lalor, published by Oak Tree Press and is available from  good bookshops nationwide.