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News Archive for July, 2014

Report on social entrepreneurship in Ireland

Posted by on July 30, 2014

Report on social entrepreneurship in Ireland

Today we’re launching an extensive report on social entrepreneurship in Ireland, looking at the current state of the sector, the use of social impact bonds in Ireland, and the development of a social impact measurement framework. This report, Social Entrepreneurship – Considerations for Policy Makers and Practitioners, was developed in partnership with the University of Toronto and represents a major piece of research into the Irish social entrepreneurship landscape. See the report’s introduction below and download your copy here – http://bit.ly/1kmswtf


Over the last 10 years, the social entrepreneurship sector in Ireland has seen remarkable growth. In 2004, social entrepreneurship, as a concept and a practice, did not exist in any formalised way in Ireland. Today, in 2014, there are a growing number of individuals self-identifying as social entrepreneurs and many actors active in both working directly with these social entrepreneurs and in helping build an ecosystem of support for this emerging sector. However, the social entrepreneurship sector is still young and many questions on how best to support its continued growth and maximize its positive impact, remain. It is within this context that the current reports have been compiled.

The genesis of this project came from a proposed partnership between Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. As Ireland’s largest organisation providing direct support to early stage social entrepreneurs, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland was well placed to identify some of the important questions that needed to be addressed in order to allow the sector to continue to grow both in terms of scale and, critically, impact. While acknowledging the important work being done on social entrepreneurship within the third level sector in Ireland, it was felt that having an international perspective could be of significant benefit in helping frame the questions, challenge assumptions and posit solutions. As one of the leading universities worldwide, the University of Toronto, provided the perfect partner, particularly given the presence of the Munk School of Global Affairs with its novel approach to teaching and research within the university. The Munk School speaks to the challenges of a changing world, something that resonates strongly with the approach and ethos of social entrepreneurs, and in its Masters of Global Affairs students it has an exceptional cadre of talented and insightful graduate students. From the point of view of the Munk School and its renowned Innovation-Policy Lab and its Social Innovation Centre, establishing this collaboration with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, fits perfectly with the School’s goals of enhancing innovation and its positive distributional and social impacts on a global scale.

In terms of the specific research projects of the Masters in Global Affairs graduate students, there seemed to be a natural progression in the issues being addressed. Firstly, the question of how to continue the growth of the social entrepreneurship sector in Ireland was examined. It became apparent that continued, and indeed increased, policy support for the sector was vital.

  • Thus the first project report focused on the state of the social entrepreneurship sector and how to improve it.

In order for social entrepreneurs to succeed, they require not only an enabling policy environment, but also, critically, sources of financing. Recent years have seen the development of alternative financing mechanisms for the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors, in particular Social Impact Bonds (or as they are known in Ireland, Social Impact Investments).

  • Therefore the second report focused on the potential of Social Impact Bonds as a viable alternative financing mechanism within an Irish context.

One of the critical components within Social Impact Bonds is a robust and measurable set of impact and outcome metrics, something that is of great importance not just to Social Impact Bond actors but also to social entrepreneurs and the organisations that support them, such as Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

  • And so the third report addressed the issue of how to design a social impact measurement framework for an organisation such as Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

In compiling these three projects, we are not claiming that the issues addressed are the only, or even the most important, questions that the sector currently faces. Nor are we claiming that the conclusions reached are necessarily the correct ones. We do, however, feel that the issues addressed are important ones for the social entrepreneurship sector in Ireland and that the conclusions reached will allow for an informed discussion to take place amongst all actors in the sector as to the best way forward. We strongly believe this would be to the benefit not just of the social entrepreneurs in Ireland, but also to the benefit of the individuals and communities they serve.

Prof. Dan Breznitz
Munk Chair of Innovation Studies
Co-director Innovation Policy Lab
Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto


Seán Coughlan
Chief Executive
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland


Download a copy of Social Entrepreneurship – Considerations for Policy Makers and Practitioners

Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards

Posted by on July 22, 2014

Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards


UB Blog

Ulster Bank – Business Achievers Awards

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is proud to have Ulster Bank as the corporate partner of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Alumni Network. Ulster Bank is committed to entrepreneurship. Currently Ulster Bank is running their ‘Business Achievers Awards’. The awards cover a range of business categories; we’re delighted that this includes a Social Enterprise award too.

 “Celebrating your business success”

The Ulster Bank ‘Business Achievers Awards’ celebrate the spirit of the excellence and innovation that are the hallmark of our most successful entrepreneurs.

Open to businesses across the Island of Ireland regardless of size, location, sector or turnover, the Awards recognise and reward entrepreneurial success and achievement across the Island.

The overall winner will receive a comprehensive reward package including a €50,000 publishing bursary with the Irish Independent or Belfast Telegraph, business mentoring from Enterprise Ireland, a full service communications workshop, a business laptop and a specially commissioned ‘Business Achievers Award’ trophy.

This year’s categories are:

1.     Business Start Up Award

2.     Small Business Award

3.     Established SME Award

4.     International Business Award

5.     Social Enterprise Award

6.     Food & Drink Award

7.     Agri-Business Award

8.     Women Led Business Award

You can enter a maximum of two categories per business. The awards are open for entries until 26th September 2014.

What happens when I enter my business?

  • All entries are judged by a provincial panel
  • Three companies in each category will be short listed for the four provincial finals in October 2014.
  • There will be one winner per category in each provincial final and they will receive a ‘Business Achievers Award’ Provincial Trophy and media profiling.
  • All provincial category winners are judged by our national judging panel
  • These companies will also be invited to our National Awards event in December 2014
  • Eight all-island category winners will be announced and they will receive a ‘Business Achievers Award’ National Trophy and media profiling.
  • One of our eight category winners will become the overall Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2014.

Once you complete the application process, there are also opportunities for your business to benefit from:

  • Extensive national and local media coverage through our media partners, the Irish Independent and the Belfast Telegraph.
  • Sell, pitch and gain insights from some of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs and industry experts.
  • Network and promote your company at our provincial and national awards ceremonies
  • Gain access to a focused business forum for like-minded entrepreneurs through www.smallbusinesscan.com

All this information and more is available at www.businessachieversawards.com

Terms and conditions apply.



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