SERI Note: 3rd National Social Enterprise Conference, 18 November 2021
SERI was proud to be represented last Thursday (18th of November) at the 3rd National Social Enterprise Conference and wanted to share our learnings from the event.
Senan Cooke ( SERI – Director) and the Dunhill ECO Park were hosts to the 3rd National Social Enterprise Conference, the theme of the Conference was "The Future of Social Enterprise in a Changing Ireland".
The conference was a hybrid event with a mix of video presentations and panel discussions. Over 390 people attended on Zoom or “in person” representing a significant ramp-up in attendances compared to previous years Social Enterprises. Dunhill Ecopark and The Rediscovery Centre Ballymun provided excellent video presentations of the effectiveness and enduring nature of these Social Enterprises in the current environment. Government ministers Heather Humphry’s and Ossian Smyth also presented via video link.
The main panel discussion supported the conference theme “Shaping the future of Social Enterprises in Ireland". SERI was represented by our Chairperson Fergus Finlay. Fergus highlighted the disparate current status of Social Enterprise representative bodies in Ireland and extolled the importance of the Social Enterprise family working closely together and providing a more unified voice into the future. Fergus advised that SERI was totally committed to a more unified and coherent representative structure for SE into the future.
The conference was clearly seen as an important step forward for the Social Enterprise sector and it shed further light on the power of social entrepreneurship which was engaged in hugely supporting and encouraging development project teams in communities throughout the country. The time was never more right for social enterprise to be supported in leaving a lasting social and economic impact. It has to be given a place at the top table in economic planning and development if Ireland is going to recover fully from Covid and Brexit in the coming years. Minister Humphreys stated that government is now fully behind the development of social enterprise.