|John Murphy CEO Speedpak|
The EU Commission’s ‘Social Business Initiative’ reflects the value and potential the EU Commission sees in models of social enterprises and entrepreneurship right across Europe.
Social enterprises represent on average 5% of GDP in the EU but only 3% in Ireland – so we have some catching up to do. It’s estimated that if over 5 years we could reach the EU average we would create 25,000 jobs.
Giving EU-wide access to private and structural funds are very important developments for those engaging in social enterprise.
However, for the EU Commission’s initiative to have any impact nationally, it is important that the Government follows through on its commitment in the Programme for Government to explore the potential of social enterprise.
The report of the Social Enterprise (& Entrepreneurship) Task Force provides a roadmap for Government. It makes key recommendations that can support the development of the sector and ultimately the creation of jobs.
Besides the need for a national policy framework for the sector the report suggests:
- A Minister of State designated to have responsibility for social enterprise.
- Allowing access to existing support structures and procurement frameworks.
- Including social clause provisions within the public and local authority.
- Creating a social innovation fund and
- Piloting a Social Impact Bond Scheme.
If the recommendations are followed up, jobs will result – something this country badly needs.
* John P. Murphy is the CEO of Speedpak Ltd, an award-winning social enterprise that employs, trains and supports local long term unemployed people through its two commercial businesses; Speedpak contract packing services and Shamrock Rosettes.