Derry City & Strabane - New programme to offer free support for social entrepreneurs




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New programme to offer free support for social entrepreneurs

15 March 2021
Local C&V groups, social enterprises and social entrepreneurs are being invited to take part in a special programme aimed at promoting the benefits of social enterprise and assisting with the process of establishing and running successful and socially responsible businesses.
Enterprise North West, in conjunction with Derry City and Strabane District Council, have this week launched the free 'Think Social' Enterprise Programme as part of Council's Business Innovation and Growth Programme.
The programme aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to get their social enterprise idea off the ground. It will also support existing social enterprises with their plans to expand, create employment and maximise opportunities to export products or services and enhance their positive impact on society.
The programme will cover a number of relevant areas, including how to best utilise the power of digital marketing to enhance performance, and how to plan your social enterprise journey as well as measure your company's social impact.
Head of Business with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Kevin O'Connor, said the programme would open up new opportunities for participants to explore the potential of social enterprise. "There is a growing interest in social enterprise as a progressive way of doing business that has a wider positive impact on society, creating a ripple effect from the success of the company itself. It has become a critical part of the wider economy and one which we recognise as vitally important to the future of the local economy here in the North West.
"The BIG Programme provides a series of interventions aimed at driving innovation and supporting local companies in achieving their business ambitions as part of our wider strategy for growth. The 'Think Social' Programme adds another dimension for local social entrepreneurs invested in the idea of driving social change. I would really encourage anyone interested in the concept of social enterprise to join the programme to help develop their ideas and reach the next stage in their journey."
 Director of Development and Enterprise with Enterprise North West, Brian O'Neill, said: "Social enterprises now exist in almost every sector, supporting local communities as well as contributing significantly to the local economy. It allows organisations to achieve economic, social and environmental goals and can be powerful catalysts for change – generating income, promoting innovation and helping develop a positive, sustainable community.
 "It is recognised that many of the best ideas come from the ground up; and it's about empowering participants by giving them access to the correct resources and support. We look forward to uncovering and supporting some ambitious, exciting and innovative ideas."
The programme is completely free and will run from April 2021 – June 2021 and is open to any C&V group, social enterprise or social entrepreneur in the Derry and Strabane Council area, employing less than 50 people. The deadline for submissions of interest is Friday 23 April at 1pm. For more information or to secure a place contact Brian O'Neill at or Tel 02871 352693