The tale of Derry’s economic woes has been well rehearsed over the years with numerous plans, visions, and schemes to improve the situation.
Top-down assistance, in the form of grants and incentive plans, have, in the past been slow to trickle as far as this part of the country. Great credit is due to those in the city and across the north west who have played a key role in developing a homegrown economy by taking matters into their own hands though social enterprise initiatives.
Such schemes, which marry entrepreneurial spirit with ideals of community development, embody everything that is good about this city.
The strength and vibrancy of Derry’s community sector has long since driven development in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the city. When combined with creative business thinking, this provides an excellent opportunities to foster stronger, sustainable communities.
Social enterprise schemes, such as the successful Rath Mór Enterprises in Creggan, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary, have made a real difference to communities in this city.
As well providing much-needed employment and bolstering the local economy, social enterprises encourage people to become more involved in the life of their community. This, together with the obvious economic benefits, is perhaps their greatest strength.
Such schemes, led and supported by local communities, can play a key role in promoting community empowerment and developing the economy.