On Tuesday, November 29th, The Western Development Commission (WDC) will deliver a social enterprise-focused event at PorterShed a Dó on Market Street as part of the Awareness Raising Initiative for Social Enterprise scheme (ARISE).
The event in the PorterShed is part of three social enterprise events the WDC is leading across the western region to shine a light on the positive work being done by these innovators. The first took place in The Building Block, Sligo, earlier this month.
Speaking about the event series, Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said:
Supporting communities and social enterprise provides an opportunity for the WDC to use its sectoral knowledge, expertise and capital to stimulate economic activity and create jobs in rural regions. Our vision is to develop the West as a social innovation region with global links and recognition. The first step in doing this is to bring the community leaders and those driving change together
An exciting panel of social entrepreneurs will speak at PorterShed a Dó on November 29th, providing their own unique insights, expertise, and knowledge. Martin Ward, Manager of BounceBack Recycling, will take to the stage and open up about his social enterprise experiences.
Galway-based BounceBack Recycling is a traveller-led social enterprise that repurposes old mattresses as well as improving the employment rate among the traveller community.
The panel discussion will be chaired by social enterprise mentor and community leader Declan Droney.
“Social entrepreneurs do such important work all around the country, so having the spotlight on them in the west of Ireland is fantastic to see. I work closely with these change-makers on a regular basis, and it always blows me away the phenomenal strides they are making in creating positive and lasting impact. I’m delighted that this event is taking place, and I’m excited to see how it will inspire the next wave of social entrepreneurs,” Declan said.
The social enterprise sector in Ireland provides between 25,000 and 35,000 jobs, generating up to €1.4bn in economic activity and addressing many challenges faced by Irish society. Furthermore, according to the European Commission, the social entrepreneurship sector currently employs 40 million people and engages over 200 million volunteers globally, indicating the sector’s potential.
Viewed as a small but growing part of the enterprise base, there is widespread acknowledgement of the increasing contribution of social enterprise to national, regional, and local social and economic development. Analysis shows that social enterprise requires further development in Ireland and especially in the West to reach levels of activity seen elsewhere in Europe.
The ARISE scheme is managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and supported by the Dormant Accounts fund. Launched in 2021, it provides funding for, as well as awareness of, social enterprises and their potential.
In May of this year, the WDC launched a new interactive map for social enterprises operating in the western region. These three events will for the first time, bring together many of those individual organisations to share knowledge, learn from those who have succeeded and build a network.