Question: What can social enterprise do for your business?

Answer: It can bring creative solutions to complex needs; act quickly; save your business money; help raise your awareness of the social issues in your community and become responsible in tackling these.

Business in the Community is proving to be a vital conduit in matching businesses with social enterprises for the benefit of both. It recently hosted a Business Social Enterprise Exchange at Belfast City Hall to demonstrate how these two sectors can work more effectively together. Denise Cranston, Business in the Community explains: “More than 60 people attended and had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers on key issues including funding, partnership working and the benefits of pro bono work.

Joining up business with the social enterprise sector are Charlene Jones,
McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd; Martin Ferguson, PwC; Denise Cranston, Business in the Community and David Hunter Acceptable Enterprises, Larne

“An interactive networking session facilitated the exchange of information, swapping of business cards and even the selling of chocolate! (turns out social enterprises don’t miss an opportunity to do business). Worthwhile connections were made, for example, Scouts NI recruited four new business volunteers within 45 minutes and others took the chance to investigate the opportunities for their enterprises with Diageo’s Arthur Guinness Ireland Fund. For the businesses, they felt that they had a fantastic opportunity to engage with so many social enterprises offering a wide range of products and services.”

Tasting the benefits of business and social enterprise are Denise Cranston, Business in the Community; Martin Ferguson, PwC, Alison Wilson and Kirsty Spencer, Orchardville Café and Business in the Community’s Social Enterprise Champion, Ciaran Sheehan, Care Circle Group and active supporter of social enterprise Colin Care in West Belfast

With the imminent inclusion of social benefit clauses in all public procurement contracts, there is a strong incentive for business to develop strong relationships with the growing social enterprise sector in Northern Ireland.

If your business needs help to work more proactively with social enterprises, please contact Denise Cranston or call (028) 9046 0606.