Social innovators in Ireland are creating a movement to support and unify social enterprises.
Journalist and columnist
A group of social entrepreneurs, key stakeholders and supporters have joined forces to launch a new organisation called the Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI) which can add a huge amount of value to the Irish social enterprise sector and economy.
SERI aims to become a representative body for the dynamic, evolving and broad social enterprise sector in Ireland.
Social enterprises may come in all shapes and forms but all dedicated to providing innovative and impactful solutions to address the most hard-hitting social challenges. Their core objectives are often to create social, societal or environmental impact. They pursue these objectives by trading in goods and services. In addition, they re-invest any surplus profits into the creation of impact as opposed to the creation of profit for owners or shareholders.
This form of making a profit with purpose could provide a unique opportunity to innovators to start and scale their business ethically and sustainably, creating value on a social and economic level at one go.
The organisation of SERI was born out of passion, knowledge and experience that exists within the sector and a universally recognised need for a united voice. It is formed by some of Ireland’s leading social enterprise practitioners and supporters – including FoodCloud, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Rethink Ireland – in a means to champion for the sector and their members both nationally and internationally.
Tammy Darcy, Interim CEO of Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI)
“There seems to be a consensus so far in our conversations with stakeholders that a big priority is going to be to raise awareness of social enterprise and the impact that we create, but also to collect data, which will help us to share that story,” says Tammy Darcy, Interim CEO of newly formed SERI, also Founder and CEO of multi-award winning social enterprise, The Shona Project.
Their vision for Ireland is to have a world-class environment for social enterprises to thrive.
Therefore their strategy focuses on four pillars:
representation, awareness, support and relationships.
Chair, Fergus Findlay, previous CEO at Barnardos Ireland said, “Social enterprise and its ecosystem have deeps roots in Ireland reaching back to the old Irish tradition of 'Meitheal', where people in rural communities came together to work on a neighbours farm. This embodies the spirit of social enterprise – working as a community to benefit the community socially and economically”.
He adds, “It is clear that social enterprise has evolved to be a thriving sector. What’s next is in our hands. Our team and our members will forge a new beginning for social enterprise and will grow this sector to benefit all our people and communities throughout the Republic of Ireland”.
At this early stage, SERI is open to welcome members on a complimentary basis until January 2021 and have open discussions about how to create a movement that genuinely empowers and inspire social innovators in Ireland.