28/04/2004

Gardiner makes final call for submissions on social economy

Enterprise Minister, Barry Gardiner today issued a final call for submissions on Government plans to develop the social economy in Northern Ireland.

The social economy, estimated to account for up to 8% of employment locally, comprises enterprises which have a social, community or ethical purpose and are not run for personal profit.

A consultation period on the Government’s three-year strategy for the sector, ends on 30 April. Submissions though, will be accepted up to 7 May.

Mr Gardiner said: “The social economy in Northern Ireland is growing and has much potential. We need to harness that potential. Our proposed strategy has three key objectives - increase awareness, increase business strength and create a supportive environment.

“We need to do this in partnership. It is important that we get as much feedback as possible from community businesses, credit unions, Housing Associations, Co-operatives, local enterprise agencies and other stakeholders, to help shape a winning future for all concerned.

“The social economy is a high priority for Government. Later this week, I will be outlining our proposals for it to the Northern Ireland Grand Committee. The Committee’s views, along with all those received in the consultation process, will be carefully considered, prior to finalising the Strategy this summer.”

'Developing a Successful Social Economy – NI Government’s Three-Year Strategic Plan 2004-2007, was launched in January by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) on behalf of an Inter-Departmental Steering Group (IDSG), comprising all 11 Government Departments.

The aim is a more integrated approach to the development and growth of Northern Ireland’s social economy sector.

(MB)

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