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8 April 2013:
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The Irish Social Enterprise Network (formerly have launched their new website

21 November 2012:
New Documentary Tracks Resilience of Cooperatives
A new documentary film tracking the resilience of cooperatives in Europe is now available online.

22 May 2012:
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21 May 2012:
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A selection of photos from the "Catch up with Social Enterprise" seminar which was held in the Woodquay Venue on 15 May 2012.

17 May 2012:
"The potential of social enterprise must be realised" - Minister Sean Sherlock TD
Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD expressed the Irish Government’s strong commitment to developing social enterprise at the WINSENT (Wales-Ireland Network for Social Entrepreneurship) project seminar in Dublin on Tuesday, 15th May.

2 May 2012:
Sustainability Awareness for SMEs - is an environmental information portal from Enterprise Ireland, designed to enhance environmental awareness and improve performance in Irish industry, with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

2 May 2012:
Sources of Environmental Funding for SMEs
A Guide to sourcing funding for energy and environmental projects for SMEs

1 May 2012:
Sustainability Training
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1 May 2012:
Equality Authority Information
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NO PLACES LEFT. WINSENT Write your own social enterprise business plan programme

Published: 13 February 2012



Social enterprises are businesses established to primarily achieve a social mission. They are formed to address an identified gap in service provision through the delivery of goods and services. However, operationally they are businesses and are required to plan their businesses in the same fashion as for-profit business ventures. However, there are subtle differences in how the social enterprise business plan is structured and there are issues distinct to social enterprises. The aim of this programme will be to lead participants through a process where they write the business plan for their social enterprise whilst actually attending the programme. Over the years, I have developed a toolkit which can facilitate the effective running of such a programme based upon templates and worksheets. The methodology will be to present a section of the programme, discuss to ensure understanding and then participants write up the section. Participants can use notebook computers, tablets or pen and paper in conjunction with the templates and worksheets. At the end of the programme the participants will have the written the first draft of their business plan, have it reviewed and will have edited version for presentation on the last session.   

 This is therefore a programme for people in social enterprises who need to:

·        Write a business plan for a grant/funding or other application
·        Who need structure and discipline to actually get the plan down on paper

·        Who have never written a business plan before

·        Who is having difficulty with writing up a business plan

·        Who have already written a business plan but need to do it properly


 The 7 sessions would cover the following topics:

 Session 1: Introduction, social mission, social and economic objectives, the business plan

 Session 2: Management ad operational processes

 Session 3: Marketing Plan

Session 4: Financial Projections 1

 Session 5: Financial Projection 2

Session 6: Administration issues, one-to-one reviews whilst writing up

Session 7: Presentation of business plan and business idea

 Expected outcomes:

¨      Participants will have written a business plan and assessed their business idea

¨      Participants will have a clearer understanding of running a business and whether it is for them at this stage

¨      A clearer understanding of their next steps


The sessions will be interactive, discursive, engaging and informative. Each block of work will be followed by an interactive exercise and discussion. The objective is to allow participants to work through their social business idea and business plan themselves in a supportive learning environment.  One to one mentoring will be given to clients to answer any questions they might have and give direction as to the possible next steps for the individual.


This is aimed as a ‘write’, not ‘how to write’ a business plan programme. It will be engaging, interactive and proactive. Participants will be fully involved from the first to last session. The programme does require a level of functional literacy. However, if this is an issue for a participant then they should be allowed bring a ‘partner’ with them who would do the writing; it is not uncommon for two people to work on the same social enterprise and it is normally taken at face value.  

Profile of trainer

Ken Germaine is an experienced trainer, entrepreneur and business advisor. He spent nearly 10 years as CEO of the BASE Enterprise Centre, a social enterprise; he has completed a PhD on social enterprises in Ireland from Trinity College Dublin and has served as Board member and Chairperson of several other social enterprises.  He has worked with all target groups including the long-term unemployed, ethnic minorities, lone parents, travellers and mainstream entrepreneurs. He ran his own business when leaving college from 1991 to 1997 and has been a self-employed consultant since February 2010. He has been chairperson of several CE Sponsor Groups, was Chair of the JI programme in Blanchardstown for 5 years and has line managed, CE, JI, CSP-funded staff and paid staff. He has written books on business planning and selling for entrepreneurs and writes the start your own business blog (

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