Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

A comprehensive overview of the landscape of social innovation and entrepreneurship at DCU and further afield at the National, European and Global level.

Explore the various support organisations and networks for social innovation and entrepreneurship, as the well as the variety of competitions and awards that are on offer for third level students, aspiring social entrepreneurs and systems change leaders.

Civic Engagement at DCU

Civic engagement is important to the DCU community, in addition to being a key component of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. Civic Engagement at DCU facilitates the engagement between DCU and local communities and allows the needs of communities to be better understood by staff and students at DCU. 

Civic Engagement at DCU promotes a range of activities, which include community-based learning and enterprise engagement, two important aspects necessary for successfully fostering social innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education at DCU.

Click here for more information about Civic Engagement at DCU.

DCU ALPHA Innovation Campus

The DCU ALPHA Innovation Campus promotes the growth of research-intensive businesses that are creating the technologies and services of tomorrow.

Click here for more information about the DCU ALPHA Innovation Campus.

DCU Changemaker Schools Network

The DCU Changemaker Schools Network is a collaborative learning network that allows primary school students, their parents, teachers and school staff to engage in social innovation and enterprise through embedding Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) in the primary school classroom.

The network believes that all children have the potential to be changemakers in today’s society. They have therefore designed the DCU Changemaker Schools programme, a programme that aims to teach students to become changemakers by developing core skills in empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork. These skills are vital for social innovation and entrepreneurship and, by equipping children with these skills at a young age, it will inspire them to create innovative solutions to environmental and social challenges in the future.

Click here for more information about the DCU Changemaker Schools Network.

DCU Credne - Forging Creativity

Creativity is an essential component of social innovation and entrepreneurship. In order to be a successful social innovator, a creative mind-set is required. The Credne Project aims to foster creativity at DCU and provides useful resources for staff and students to use in the classroom and further afield. Many of the resources on the Credne website are relevant for social innovation and entrepreneurship and will help staff and students to start thinking creatively about solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Click here for more information about the DCU Credne Project.

DCU Invent

DCU Invent is the university’s commercialisation and technology transfer unit. It facilitates collaboration between companies, researchers and entrepreneurs and provides support for start-ups.

Click here for more information about DCU Invent.

Enactus DCU

Enactus DCU is the university’s largest social entrepreneurship society. Enactus DCU is student-led and is aimed at DCU students who have a passion for social innovation and who are keen to become the next generation of socially conscious leaders and innovators, while using social entrepreneurial business models.

Enactus DCU currently has established four student-led social enterprises, each run by multidisciplinary groups of students. Enactus DCU has a very successful track record at the Enactus National Championships, having won the competition a total of six out of nine times.

Click here for more information about Enactus DCU.

HeadstARTs Society

HeadstARTs is a student-led social enterprise located at DCU, and was founded by DCU Alumnus and social entrepreneur, Liam Redmond (Certified Proud) in 2013. HeadstARTs runs various creative arts classes (including dance, drama, music and art) for people with intellectual disabilities.

Click here for more information about HeadstARTs.

 

Competitions
DCU President's Awards for Engagement

DCU acknowledges and rewards staff and student engagement efforts through the DCU President's Awards for Engagment. These awards are presented annually and have often been won by projects and initiatives that have a strong focus on social innovation and social enterprise.

Click here for more information about the DCU's President's Awards for Engagement.

DCU President's Awards for Innovation

The annual DCU's President's Award for Innovation was created to foster a culture of innovation at the university and to honour staff and students for their endeavours in designing innovative products and/or services.

Click here for more information about the DCU's President's Awards for Innovation.

Campus Engage

Campus Engage is an Irish network that aims to support higher education institutions to embed civic engagement across staff and student teaching, learning and research in order to collaboratively address existing societal challenges.

Click here for more information about Campus Engage.

Clann Credo

Clann Credo is a national social finance organisation that provides loans to community organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises that create meaningful social and/or environmental impact.

Using a social finance approach, Clann Credo demands that the investments produce a social and financial return. The organisation supports a range of groups, from sports and culture groups to communities passionate about tourism and environment. 

Click here for more information about Clann Credo.

Community Finance Ireland

Community Finance Ireland is a social finance organisation that provides loans to groups in the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector in Ireland and the UK.

Click here for more information about Community Finance Ireland.

Dublin City Social Enterprise Grant Scheme

The Dublin City Social Enterprise Grant Scheme offers flexible grants to social enterprises within the Dublin City Council administrative area that are at the start-up or development phase.

Click here for more information about the Dublin City Social Enterprise Grant Scheme.

Enactus Ireland

Enactus Ireland is a national organisation that promotes and supports student social innovation and enterprise endeavours across Ireland. Enactus Ireland comprises ten academic institutions and a number of other partners from the private, public and third sectors. It hosts the annual Enactus Ireland National Competition for social innovation and entrepreneurship, where each of the academic institution partners take part and showcase their social innovations. Each year, the winning team represents Ireland at the Enactus World Cup.

Click here for more information about Enactus Ireland.

Genio

Genio is an organisation that works with philanthropy and government at national and EU levels to support social services to solve complex problems and scale social innovations using a systems change approach.

Click here for more information about Genio.

Inner City Enterprise (ICE)

Inner City Enterprise is an organisation based in Dublin that supports unemployed people and young people with an interest in entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses. They offer a variety of services including training programmes, financial support and networking events for budding social entrepreneurs.

Click here for more information about Inner City Enterprise (ICE).

Irish Local Development Network (ILDN)

The Irish Local Development Network represents Ireland’s Local Development Companies (LDCs). There are 49 LDCs in the country that work on creating sustainable and inclusive communities. An important aspect of the work being done by the ILDN and LDCs is on social enterprise development and support.

Click here to find out more about the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN).

Irish Social Enterprise Network

The Irish Social Enterprise Network is a national representative network of social enterprises in Ireland. The network aims to increase the visibility of social enterprise in the country through networking, advocacy and education and provide support for social enterprise growth.

Click here to find out more about the Irish Social Enterprise Network.

Local Enterprise Office

The Local Enterprise Office provides support on establishing or growing a business in Ireland. There are a total of 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country that offer advice for enterprise development

Click here for more information about Local Enterprise Offices.

Pobal

Pobal works on behalf of the Irish Government to support communities and local agencies towards achieving social inclusion and development.

Click here for more information about Pobal.

Rethink Ireland

Previously known as Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Rethink Ireland supports charities and social enterprises who are aiming to create sustainable and equitable solutions and provides these organisations with advice on how to create wider social impact across the country.

Click here for more information about Rethink Ireland.

Social Economy Research Network of Ireland (SERNI)

The Social Economy Research Network of Ireland is a voluntary network of academics and graduate students working in the areas of social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. The network comprises academics from a range of schools and disciplines, from business and entrepreneurship to social sciences to environment and planning.

Click here for more information about SERNI.

Social Enterprise NI

Social Enterprise NI represents social enterprises and social entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland and supports them to drive social change throughout local areas.

Click here for more information about Social Enterprise NI.

Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI)

Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland represents the social enterprise sector in Ireland, focusing on four distinct pillars; Representation, Awareness, Support and Relationships.

Click here for more information about SERI.

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is an organisation that supports social entrepreneurs in creating their social enterprise ventures. It runs a variety of programmes to help individuals develop their ideas and turn them into something impactful. Such programmes include The Ideas Academy, The Impact Programme and Scale Partnerships.

Click here for more information about Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Social Finance Foundation

The Social Finance Foundation was established by the Irish Government in 2007 to address the needs of community organisations and social enterprises across the country. It provides funding to Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland.

Click here for more information about the Social Finance Foundation.

Social Impact Ireland

Social Impact Ireland works with social entrepreneurs and social enterprises to increase their positive impact on society. They offer a range of services, including incubator programmes, business advice clinics, workshops and info evenings for establishing and running social enterprises.

Click here for more information about Social Impact Ireland.

The Wheel

The Wheel is a national association that represents and supports community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises across Ireland. They provide assistance and training on a range of topics relevant for third sector organisations. These  funding, skills development, governance

Click here for more information about The Wheel.

Young Social Innovators

Young Social Innovators is a non-profit organisation that empowers young people to take action on social problems through the provision of social innovation education. The organisation is located at DCU ALPHA.

Click here for more information about Young Social Innovators.

 

Competitions
Dublin City Social Enterprise Awards

The Dublin City Social Enterprise Awards is an annual competition that aims to increase awareness of the contribution that social enterprise makes to community development, local employment and skills development. The competition has been running since 2015 and distributes €50,000 among the awardees each year.

Click here for more information about the Dublin City Social Enterprise Awards.

ECIU

ECIU (European Consortium of Innovative Universities) is a network of universities that emphasise innovation, creativity and societal impact in higher education and research. The network is made up of 13 European universities, including DCU. 

The network has established the ECIU University, a European university that is dedicated to working with learners, teachers, researchers, businesses and cities to solve real-life challenges.

Click here for more information about ECIU.

Euclid Network

The Euclid Network is a European network for social enterprises and impact-driven leaders. The network creates connections between civil society and social enterprise leaders, shares entrepreneurial knowhow, and raises the visibility and understanding of civil society and social enterprise in business, academia, government and the wider society.

Click here for more information about the Euclid Network.

 

Competitions
European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC)

The European Social Innovation Competition is run by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Entrepreneurship and SMEs for all EU countries and Horizon Europe associated countries, and is supported by the European Innovation Council.

The competition runs every year and addresses a different issue facing Europe (e.g. Shaping a green and digital future, Reimagine fashion, Re:Think local). Three prizes of €50,000 are awarded for the best socially innovative projects.

Click here for more information about the European Social Innovation Competition.

Ashoka

Ashoka is a global organisation that was founded in 1980 and works to advance the idea that ‘Everyone is a Changemaker’. Ashoka has 35 country offices across the globe, where staff work to identify and support social entrepreneurs.

Click here for more information about Ashoka.

EMES Research Network

Originally a network of European university research centres and individual researchers, EMES was formed by a group of scholars in 1996. It has since expanded and welcomes researchers and from around the world to join. The network facilitates the collaboration between research institutions and individual researchers to advance the fields of social enterprise, social economy, solidarity economy and social entrepreneurship.

Click here for more information about the EMES Research Network.

Enactus

Enactus is a worldwide non-profit organisation. It is a global network of business, academic and student leaders that aim to create a better and more sustainable world. Enactus comprises a total of 35 countries across the globe and runs the annual Enactus World Cup for young social innovators in higher education.

Click here for more information about Enactus.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a leading platform supporting social innovation and social entrepreneurship at the global level.

Click here for more information about the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

Stanford Social Innovation Review

Founded by the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Social Innovation Review is a magazine and website that explores cross-sector solutions to global problems. 

Click here for more information about the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

 

Competitions
Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge 

The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge inspires student entrepreneurs around the world to connect and create sustainable business solutions to social or environmental issues at the local or global level. As part of the competition, students work in teams from their own university, analyse a social or environmental challenge, come up with a potential solution and pitch their idea. Students can win up to $50,000 in funding to develop their idea further.

Click here for more information about the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge.

Map the System

Map the System is a global competition run by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford. The competition encourages students from participating universities across the globe to think differently about social and environmental change, using a systems thinking approach. Instead of focusing on developing and pitching solutions to social and environmental problems, Map the System places the emphasis on getting participants to explore and gain a fuller understanding of the problems.

Click here for more information about Map the System.

 


RevitaLESE - Revitalising Long Established Social Economy Organisations

The Erasmus+ RevitaLESE project is the latest social enterprise project that DCU is contributing to. RevitaLESE aims to highlight the importance of, engage with and assist to improve and revitalize the social mission and business model and activities of LESE (long established social economy) organisations.

DCU is working together with partners The Wheel (Ireland),  ACT Grupa, Synthesis Center for Research and Education (Cyprus), Social Innovation Centre (Latvia), Skills Zone (Malta), Knowl Social Enterprise for Lifelong Learning (Greece).

Follow the RevitaLESE project on Facebook and Linkedin.

View the latest RevitaLESE newsletter (April 2022) here.

 

RevitaLESE project logo