In today’s world where entrepreneurship and innovation have become the two driving forces that are changing and impacting the most critical social problems, Ireland has become a home for many like-minded people who move things forward and put in effort to make the world a better place. A lot of enterprises that deal with demanding social problems have established themselves in Ireland, a country well known for its progressive economy and highly skilled people working in tech, finance, and many other crucial industries (HSBC International Business Guide: Ireland, n.d.).
In the past few decades, not only has Ireland become a home for many international businesses, but it has built a severe entrepreneurial network and acted as a hub that welcomes many small and socially responsible businesses and non-profit organisations. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is only one of the examples of a privately funded organisation that has, in its 17 years of existence, offered support for over 500 entrepreneurs who were finding and applying solutions to some of the most immediate problems within various fields (About Us, 2022). Their strategy for supporting social entrepreneurs, as they describe, is built on three pillars: “inspiring and incubating ideas at the first STEP; accelerating and developing organisations that require a LEAP of faith; and ensuring the best solutions can SOAR and impact at scale.” (About Us, 2022). Another similar example of a socially and ethically responsible Irish organisation is SERI, Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland, which has been founded by some of the most knowledgeable social entrepreneurs and practitioners within the sector, and has supported various economic and social fields with compelling solutions both locally and internationally (SERI – Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland, n.d.). The organisation focuses on representation, awareness, support, and relationships to deliver the best solutions for members within the sector and promote unity and collaboration (SERI – Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland, n.d.). What is also praiseworthy about these kinds of businesses in Ireland is the fact that, aside from helping society with different solutions, they help by offering jobs for many who may be in need or looking for a place to start their career. To prove this, the data shows that the Social Enterprise sector has provided over 20 000 jobs and contributed massively to the country’s economic activity with more than €1 billion (Social Enterprise in Ireland, 2022). In a report from 2012, the Irish social enterprise sector has been described as “an enterprise that trades for a social/societal purpose, where at least part of its income is earned from its trading activity, is separate from government, and where the surplus is primarily reinvested in the social objective.” (SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN IRELAND SECTORAL OPPORTUNITIES AND POLICY ISSUES, n.d.). Continuing from this, there are over 1500 social enterprises all over the island of Ireland that work with communities on issues connected with poverty, environment and housing, as well as with an ever-increasing number of individuals who continue to support with solutions to economic and social problems (SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN IRELAND SECTORAL OPPORTUNITIES AND POLICY ISSUES, n.d.).
In 2019, several social entrepreneurs in Ireland were awarded hefty funding for their brilliant engagement in providing answers to various problems related to mental health, and farm and property safety (Earley, 2019). This only goes to show that the sector’s future remains bright, especially if national policies that protect and push the engagement come through and the sector gains a formal status. There is still a lot of work that needs to be put in for Ireland to rank amongst the top European countries in social enterprise action. However, the odds seem to be in their favour. There are many individuals and organisations in Ireland willing to put in the effort and grow the network that will support those in need and considering the vigorous times ahead of us, we are undoubtedly happy to see it.
- About Us. (2022, February 10). Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. https://www.socialentrepreneurs.ie/about-us/
- Earley, K. (2019, October 9). Six Irish social entrepreneurs awarded €240,000 to support their projects. Silicon Republic. https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/social-enterprise-ireland-awards-2019
- HSBC International Business Guide: Ireland. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.business.hsbc.com/business-guides/ireland
- SERI – Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland. (n.d.). SERI. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.socialenterprise.ie/
- Social Enterprise in Ireland. (2022, October 4). Recycle IT. https://communityrecycleit.wordpress.com/2022/06/02/social-enterprise-in-ireland/
- SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN IRELAND SECTORAL OPPORTUNITIES AND POLICY ISSUES. (n.d.). https://www.socent.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/23072013-Social_Enterprise_in_Ireland-Sectoral_Opportunities_and_Policy_Issues-Publication.pdf