Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (2094, 2095)

John Lahart


2094. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the national social enterprise policy implementation group is still functioning. [15806/21]

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John Lahart


2095. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the social enterprise higher education institutes network is still in place. [15807/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2094 and 2095 together.

Social enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve the lives of people. Their core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. Like other businesses, social enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving their core social objectives.

Ireland's first National Social Enterprise Policy 2019-2022 was launched in July 2019. This Policy is helping to create an enabling environment for social enterprise in Ireland to grow and contribute to Ireland’s social and economic progress.

The Policy is focused on three main objectives:

1. Building Awareness of Social Enterprise

2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise

3. Achieving Better Policy Alignment

The Policy provided for the establishment of a National Social Enterprise Policy Implementation Group.

The Implementation Group was formed in December 2019 and has been instrumental in advising, supporting and providing oversight on the progress of the implementation of the Policy. The Group includes Government Departments, Agencies and a broad range of Social Enterprise Stakeholder interests.

The Implementation Group meets on a regular basis and five meetings of the group have been held to date, where all aspects of policy implementation have been discussed. The minutes of the Implementation Group meetings are available on my Department's pages on the website. 

Based on the spirit of partnership which is a key principle of the National Social Enterprise Policy, the Implementation Group will continue to play a critical role in guiding the implementation of the Policy over its lifetime.

The Higher Education Institutions (HEI) Network on Social Enterprise was established in October 2019. It enables communication regarding developments and activities related to social enterprise, as well as the sharing of good practice in terms of teaching, research and community engagement. Furthermore, it engenders collaboration and innovation regarding the development of social enterprise amongst network members.

The network also provides the opportunity for the Department to avail of the expert input of HEIs in the context of the implementation of the National Social Enterprise Policy. The network has met three times, most recently in March 2021, with the next meeting expected to take place in early Summer 2021. The minutes of all meetings are available on