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Social economy

The Social Enterprise Sector makes a significant contribution to the NI economy (£625 million when combining direct and indirect impacts).

Its employment base has grown from 12,200 in 2013 to 24,860 in 2018 and equivalent growth in the turnover has increased from £592.7 million in 2013 to £980 million in 2018. 53% of organisations employ half their work force from their immediate locality, which makes the sector an important vehicle in delivering outcomes around disadvantage, deprivation, reducing economic inactivity and delivering greater innovation. (Re-Balancing the Northern Ireland Economy, Social Enterprise Northern Ireland 2019.)

Social enterprise and cooperative support

We’re here to help you every step of the way when setting up a new social enterprise or cooperative.

Through our tailored support you’ll get:

  • Advice on legal issues
  • Best practice visits
  • Business planning
  • Help to explore and secure finance
  • Help to generate ideas
  • Networking opportunities
  • Peer to peer learning
  • Sales and marketing coaching
  • Support choosing the right governance structure
  • Tailored workshops

If you’re an individual or group interested in starting a new social enterprise or cooperative, or an organisation which currently relies on funding and you want to explore moving to a social enterprise or cooperative model, then contact us on 028 9027 0482 or register your interest online.

Social Enterprise Action Plan 2019-2024

Our Social Enterprise Action Plan aims to grow and improve Belfast’s social economy sector in order to improve the lives of those living in the city through inclusive growth. This plan was developed following various interviews with the sector and looks at addressing not just the needs of the sector, but also the barriers to growth to enhance the Belfast economy, create jobs for citizens and help to address social issues within the city.

It aims:

  • to raise awareness of the social economy sector and the work within it across the city
  • to help create a social enterprising culture within the city and increase levels of entrepreneurship in Belfast
  • to be comparative with leading UK cities such as London and Edinburgh in terms of social enterprise
  • to increase the number of social enterprises in Belfast by supporting at least 250 new start-ups in the city by 2023
  • to create employment within the city by creating at least 400 new jobs within the sector by 2024
  • to develop the business skills and knowledge of the social economy sector and provide accessible support
  • to provide a platform for collaboration and partnership working within the sector as well as with the public and private sectors
  • to promote the concept of social enterprise across the city using sector champions

For more information on this plan call 028 9027 0482 or email economicdevelopment@belfastcity.gov.uk