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What is a Social Enterprise?

Galway Rural Development - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Following on from advertising our Social Enterprise Workshop at various locations - you might be looking for clarification about what a Social Enterprise is. Hope this helps

What is a Social Enterprise?

A social enterprise is an enterprise:

  1. - that trades for a social/ societal purpose;
  2. - where at least part of its income is earned from its trading activity;
  3. - is separate from government; and
  4. - where the surplus is primarily re-invested in the social objective.

Forfas (2013), Social Enterprise in Ireland: Sectoral Opportunities and Policy Issues

Support for Social Enterprises

Galway Rural Development aims to support the development of new and existing social enterprises through:

-          awareness raising and the promotion of social enterprise activity in County Galway.

-          training on developing and growing a social enterprise.

-          one-to-one mentoring.

-          assistance in assessing the feasibility of a social enterprise idea.

-          establishment of a local network for the support of social enterprise.

Support will focus on community-led social enterprises operating in disadvantaged communities that are/aim to provide services to these communities and create employment opportunities for marginalised groups.

Examples of Social Enterprises

Community-led examples include; childcare facilities, enterprise centres, arts/crafts/heritage/tourism organisations, sports/leisure facilities, environment/recycling, community shops and social housing.

If you are considering setting up a community-led social enterprise or looking for support to further develop an existing one you can contact: Patricia Kelly, Social Enterprise Officer, Galway Rural Development, Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway. Tel: 091-844335, Email:

Welcome to the Galway Rural Development website. Galway Rural Development, through the programmes we administer, will continue to work along with other agencies, groups and individuals around the county to improve the quality of life for all citizens in our area. We especially wish to work with those who are most in need of assistance, to provide real opportunities for people to gain significant improvements for themselves and their communities throughout rural Galway.

Funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.