Grow Dublin 8

Grow Dublin 8 is a consortium of local social enterprise stakeholders which exist to amplify the voice of our communities and promote awareness of social enterprise and their potential social impact on the radars of decision makers across our community sectors.

Why Dublin 8?

Dublin 8 area is located in south west Dublin city. It includes the Liberties and stretches as far as the Grand Canal to the south, and Inchicore and Kilmainham to the west. It has a population of 43,556 (according to census 2016) and like many city areas, includes areas of significant affluence as well as disadvantage. Dublin 8 attracts over three million visitors per year, making it a major tourism destination. The area has experienced significant development in the past few years, with plans for even more large-scale development.

It is in this context that the Dublin 8 Consortium first came together in 2019. Its membership includes organisations with a strong history and track record in supporting social enterprise development in Dublin 8 and beyond. The members of the Consortium have long experience of collaborating in supporting and advancing the sector.

Where does social enterprise come in?

We believe that this strategy provides a strong basis for the further development of the social enterprise sector in Dublin 8. It is also timely, as the work of the Consortium has coincided with the launch of the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland (2019-2022) by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The strategy aligns its actions with the three key objectives of the strategy.

There are many opportunities for the development of the social enterprise sector in Dublin 8. We look forward to working with social enterprises, the Department of Rural and Community Development and a wide range of stakeholders in realising these opportunities. We support and reach out to and involve the local council, businesses, charities, consumers and budding social entrepreneurs – bringing them together to grow social enterprise within our communities.

What is happening now?

Social enterprise activity in Dublin 8 includes community facilities, walking tours, education and arts initiatives, reuse-and recycling initiatives, food production and retail, social finance provision, incubation space for enterprises, and manufacturing.

The consortium’s aim for social enterprise in Dublin 8 is to build markets and supports for social enterprises at a national and local level.

  • Social enterprise in Dublin 8 will tackle disadvantage and contribute to a more equal and inclusive society.
  • Dublin 8 will have a thriving, vibrant, and sustainable social enterprise sector.
  • Dublin 8 will be a test-bed and hub for social enterprises – with flagship social enterprises that act as a model contributing to national and international good practice and policy.

Building inclusive and resilient social economies

Grow D8 has grown from an idea to a growing network. This report looks in more depth at the activity and effects of the social enterprise ecosystem in Dublin 8 and the future potential and impact. In particular, it looks at:

  • Outcomes associated with the status and recognition
  • Qualitative and quantitative learning and findings into ‘what helps create a social enterprise culture within a community?’
  • Recommendations for those seeking to join us to build local, resilient social economies.

What People Say


What is a Social Enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business that uses its profits to improve the lives of people and create positive change in the community.

What makes a Social Enterprise unique?

Social enterprise operates like any other business in that it produces goods and services for which the customer pays. The defining difference is that it invests all profits back into achieving its social objectives rather than going to shareholders, as in the case of most businesses. A social enterprise creates employment and opportunities for those most marginalised from the workforce, transforming communities and addressing issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.

What is the difference between a Social Enterprise and a charity/not for profit and a business?

Social Enterprises sit in between charities and traditional business. They focus on selling a particular product or service rather than fundraising or relying on donations. They are a business that is focused on making a profit however all profits are reinvested in the community rather than to shareholders or investors.

What are some key benefits Social Enterprises deliver?

Social enterprises sustain jobs and communities all over Ireland. Social enterprises are professionally run enterprises, willing and able to deliver on a range of social and economic requirements. They are entrepreneurial, innovative and impactful. They improve the lives of people and are established to address significant societal challenges. Many social enterprises work with government and local authorities in the delivery of services, across sectors such as health, wellbeing and social services.

What value do Social Enterprises bring to our economy?

Further updated research by the state is required to qualify the overall value of social enterprises in Ireland. It is expected this issue will be resolved as a result of the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 and the upcoming census. Previous data from Government agency Forfás (2013) estimated social enterprise in Ireland to offer approximately 25,000-35,000 jobs and to contribute over €1.4 billion to the Irish economy. Social enterprise accounts for about 6% of GDP across the EU and an estimated 3% in Ireland.

If Ireland’s social enterprise sector were to approach mean EU levels of output, it is estimated that there would be approximately 65,000 jobs in social enterprises. This figure could grow to as much as 100,000 jobs if Ireland achieved the 9% goal set by the EU under the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy (CPA Ireland Social Enterprise, The Irish and International Landscapes, July 2018).

What is Social Enterprise Dublin?

Social Enterprise Dublin are supporting and building capacity for social enterprises that are creating employment for those marginalised in society, driving social inclusion and education, and bringing about real change across all communities in Dublin.

Social Enterprise Dublin, established in 2019 and funded by the Government’s Dormant Accounts Fund, is a network of seven local development companies who work together to offer a range of training and mentoring supports to social enterprises in Dublin. To date, Social Enterprise Dublin have delivered 690 cumulative Training hours and over 2000 hours of one to one mentorship to over 90 enterprises.

Who are the members of Social Enterprise Dublin?

Members of Social Enterprise Dublin are Dublin South City Partnership, Northside Partnership, Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership, Dublin North West Partnership, Empower Local Development Company, Dublin Inner City Community Co-Operative and Fingal LEADER Partnership.

How many Social Enterprises are located in Dublin City and what have they delivered?

Social Enterprise Dublin have assisted 93 individual social enterprises to date across its member areas which include Dublin’s South and Northwest, Dublin City, Blanchardstown, Chapelizod, Ballyfermot, Blanchardstown and Fingal. Since 2019, Social Enterprises in Dublin are estimated to have generated €9.3 million in turnover, employing 651 people (an average of 7 per Social Enterprise). They also have the support of 930 volunteers, an average of 10 per Social Enterprise.

What are some examples of Social Enterprises in Dublin? What type of businesses are they?

Social Enterprises in Dublin address a wide range of societal issues. The main themes include Environment & Climate Change, Diversity & Inclusion, Addiction & Probation and Migrants & Direct Provision. The businesses offer a range of services and products from coffee shops to audio visual agencies to arts and sustainable fashion groups to bike shops. They are part of the community and for the benefit of the community.

What difference have Social Enterprises made to Dublin?

Social Enterprises offer a wide range of financial and societal benefits to our economy. The true value is seen at the community level. Dublin has suffered from numerous social issues over the years from homelessness, high levels of drug dealing and addiction to litter blackspots to a lack of amenities for communities to socialise, exercise and express their creativity.

Social Enterprises in Dublin are invaluable to instigating real change particularly in underprivileged areas. For example – They have created employment and opportunities to people on probation, who are recovering from addiction or the long term unemployed. – They have addressed the lack of green spaces in the city, planting trees and developing allotments in built up urban areas for the benefit of the community. – They have offered training and opportunities to people living with disabilities, so they can achieve their full potential. – They have assisted children and older people to stay healthy and socialise through exercise programmes and events.

Most of all they have developed a strong sense of community inspiring others to play their part and make a difference to the lives of others.

Why should I find out more about Social Enterprise?

Social enterprise is a growing and dynamic part of Irish social and economic life. It is a sector that appeals to people who want to run a meaningful business that makes a real difference in their community, now and for future generations. It is an exciting sector to be part of and is open to new ideas and further engagement from all those with an interest in utilising this model to respond to societal challenges.

The government has published the first ever National Policy on Social Enterprise 2019-2022 to assist in harnessing the full potential of this sector. Social Enterprise Dublin have launched a creative and targeted promotional campaign to build awareness for the role, significance and potential of social enterprise. Social enterprises are calling out for partners and for support from the public to grow their businesses to continue to deliver positive changes to their communities and wider society.

Why should a corporation invest in a Social Enterprise?

Social Enterprise is a growing sector in Ireland and across the EU. It is particularly aligned to a younger audience who want to make a real difference in business. It is a viable business with a working Board that works towards making a profit for its social objectives. There is an untapped opportunity in Ireland for corporations and social enterprises to work together to achieve both business and social impact goals. It is governed in a fully accountable and transparent manner and is independent of the public sector.

Investing in a social enterprise that fits your mission and values will align you with positive outcomes for the community, boosting your own credibility and dedication to authentic corporate social responsibility. According to CPA Ireland’s report on social enterprise in Ireland 2018, Social Enterprise accounts for 3% of GDP in Ireland in comparison to 4%-7% across the EU. If Ireland could grow this sector to 9%, 100,000 jobs could be created. (CPA Ireland Social Enterprise, The Irish and International Landscapes, July 2018) Social Enterprise is an exciting sector to be involved in. It is constantly evolving addressing social deficits or market needs. Similar to start-up’s, these businesses need expert guidance and support to thrive.

According to Deloitte Consulting, corporate CEOs consider their organisation’s “impact on society,” including income inequality, diversity, and the environment, as their primary measure of success. Social enterprises are effective partners to assist corporations to achieve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Customers expect all businesses to act responsibly and to give back in an authentic way to their environment or relevant causes. Social Enterprises offer private enterprises the opportunity to invest in a meaningful way. It is a sector that is important to the Government.

Why should policymakers encourage investment in a Social Enterprise?

Social enterprises are proven to play an important role in addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Social enterprises foster inclusive growth, increasing social cohesion, nurturing local social capital, supporting democratic participation and delivering good quality services. They are resilient as proved by their retention and creation of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and previous challenging financial periods.

The benefits of social enterprises to the overall economy and society are numerous and far reaching. Supporting social enterprises in public policies will drive growth creating more employment and positive societal changes in the years ahead. Social enterprises work hand in glove with traditional business and charities to address fundamental challenges faced by our society including housing, employment, sustainability and integration.

Supporting social enterprises through public policy aids the state to overcome and address societal challenges and empowers communities to get involved in changing society for the better.

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