Social Enterprise Hub Project Gets Funding Extension

Funding of £1.5 million has been announced as an extension of the Social Enterprise Hub Project, which aims to support businesses and social enterprises to develop.

Announcing the extension, the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell, said: "Over the last two years the Social Enterprise Hubs have engaged local people with business ideas and have supported them to develop, promote and grow new social enterprises to get established.

"What has emerged is a totally new and innovative programme that seeks to integrate physical regeneration and social enterprise development for the benefit of deprived areas. It is important that the Northern Ireland Executive continues to provide support and investment to new social enterprises with the aim to stimulate job creation and a focus on the social benefits these Enterprise Hubs can bring to local people."
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Social Development Minister Lord Morrow added: "Outcomes from the pilot have been very positive in terms of introducing an innovative approach to social enterprise development and the potential to drive sustainability in the wider voluntary and community sector, supporting independent and sustainable communities. The Social Enterprise Hub project has delivered both economic and social impacts and reflects the interconnectedness of the Economic Strategy and Delivering Social Change. Social enterprise, innovation and tackling economic inactivity are areas which clearly bridge the two.

"Both Departments have identified the need for a further but time bound period of delivery to not only maximise the impact of the investment and support provided to date but also to leverage the interest from stakeholders in the concept and develop a future programme of ideas taking account of the lessons emerging from this action learning project."

The Social Enterprise Hubs was a new approach to supporting new social enterprise ideas, bringing about more economic and social benefits to communities across Northern Ireland.

The commitment of further funding by DSD and DETI reflects the continuance of joined-up working by Ministers and senior officials across two Executive departments and an Agency to drive forward and initiative which is having genuine impact on the ground.

The Hubs will continue to provide new social entrepreneurs and social enterprises with access to support where they will be able to get free access to resources such as mentoring, training and best-practice visits.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment and they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.


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