Social Enterprise Could Create 65,000 Jobs

Social Enterprise has the potential to provide 65,000 jobs and contribute to the objective of economic 
recovery, a new Report,  “Adding Value Delivering Change  The Role of Social Enterprise in National Recovery,” states.
In Europe the social enterprise sector accounts for between 4% and 7% of GDP, but in Ireland it represents just 3%, the Report, published by the Social Enterprise Task Force, an initiative of Clann Credo - the Social Investment Fund and the Dublin Employment Pact, says. 
Launching the Social Enterprise Task Force's Report, from left to right: Maurice Healy, Chairperson of the Social Enterprise Task Force and former President of IBEC; Anne-Marie Farrelly, Chairperson of Dublin Employment Pact; Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe TD and CEO of Clann Credo - The Social Investment Fund, Paul O'Sullivan.
 Setting a European average target of 5% of GDP would provide at least 65,000 jobs and contribute to the job creation goals set out by the Innovation Taskforce.
In addition, it is estimated that, for every one person employed through social enterprise, at least one other person contributes work on a voluntary basis.
The Report proposes that:
  • social enterprise policy should be driven by the government department with responsibility for enterprise;
  • social enterprise should be incorporated into the economic, planning and development strategies of local authorities;
  • a social enterprise remit be established within existing enterprise funding mechanisms;
  • the current support structures for the business sector to be enhanced, so that they are accessible and capable of providing support to social enterprise
  • County & City Enterprise Boards should be the key agency providing support to social enterprise at local level
  • introduce social clauses in public and local authority procurement policy and supporting social enterprises to build consortia and to tender for public contracts;
  • a range of flexible finance options including equity-type instruments be set up.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe TD, who attended the launch of the report, said he would carefully study its recommendations.

"I welcome the report and particularly its focus on job creation through local businesses working in partnership with community groups and organisations,” said Minister O'Keeffe.
Commenting on the Report, Maurice Healy, Chairperson of the Social Enterprise Task Force and former President of IBEC, said: “In 2006, the then Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, established the Social Finance Foundation (SFF) with funding from the Irish banks, which now provides accessible and affordable loan finance for social enterprises.  Access to appropriate support from the state agencies that support SME’s now needs to be addressed if Social Enterprise is to play a full-role in job creation and national recovery.
“For its part, Social Enterprise needs to grow and put down deeper roots. The sector needs to act as one and state its case publicly, to create a more favourable public and policy environment that will ensure that it realises its true potential,” he added.
Paul O’Sullivan, CEO of Clann Credo, the Social Investment Fund said that social enterprise can assist local communities in a sustainable manner by providing a range of needed services “including transport for people with disabilities, community recycling, green agenda initiatives and development of community facilities.” 
Anne-Marie Farrelly, Chairperson of Dublin Employment Pact, said in a situation where unemployment was again on the increase, “implementing the recommendations of the Report would help create meaningful jobs and restore a spirit of hope to local communities.
The full report is available for download here (PDF, 4MB)

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