Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Jonathan Bell were in Derry today to officially open the first Delivering Social Change Social Enterprise Hub.
Funding of £4 million for the Social Enterprise Hub Signature Programme is being provided by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
The North Western Hub is the first to be set up under the Programme which is being delivered by the Department for Social Development and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in conjunction with Invest NI.
The North Western Hub, based at Shipquay Street in Derry, is one of 11 Social Enterprise Hubs being established under the Northern Ireland Executive’s Delivering Social Change framework to encourage local start-up social enterprise businesses.
Officially opening the Hub, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell said: “Supporting social enterprise growth is a key priority for the Northern Ireland Executive. We firmly believe that creating an environment for social enterprises to thrive will play an important role in redressing the economic position.
“This £4 million investment from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in 11 Social Enterprise Hubs such as the North Western Social Enterprise Hub in Londonderry demonstrates the Executive’s commitment to supporting local communities to bring about social benefits. The Social Enterprise Hubs will engage local people who have business ideas, and will help develop, support, promote and grow new social enterprises to help them get established.”
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann added: “It is great that the first Delivering Social Change Social Enterprise Hub is well and truly open for business here in Derry. Without a strong economy you cannot tackle deprivation, deliver the health and social care people need, improve quality of life and deliver real social change.
“Social enterprises can be powerful catalysts for change – generating income, promoting innovation and helping develop a positive, sustainable community. The Executive recognises that many of the best ideas come from the ground up; this hub is about empowering local people by giving them access to the resources to make their ideas a reality.”
Enterprise North West is delivering the Social Enterprise Hub in the North West area.
Speaking about the services which can be accessed at the Hub, Brian O’Neill, Social Enterprise Hub Manager, said: “The Social Enterprise Hub is a completely new approach to supporting brilliant social enterprise ideas, bringing about more social benefits to communities across North West. The city centre based Social Enterprise Hub premises will provide new social entrepreneurs and social enterprises with access to a ‘soft landing’ incubator from where they will be able to locate their new social businesses and get free access to resources such as mentoring, training and best-practice visits. We look forward to uncovering and supporting some ambitious, exciting and innovative ideas.”
Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment and they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.
For further information about the North Western Social Enterprise Hub, email firstname.lastname@example.org