Social Enterprise

Working to Change – social enterprise and employment strategy 2021 – 2023’ is an expanded follow up document to the previously published, ‘A New Way Forward – social enterprise strategy 2017 - 2019’.

Our definition of social enterprise is aligned with that of the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019 – 2022;


‘A Social Enterprise is an enterprise whose objective is to achieve a social, societal or environmental impact, rather than maximising profit for its owners or shareholders. It pursues its objectives by trading on an ongoing basis through the provision of goods and/or services, and by reinvesting surpluses into achieving social objectives. It is governed in a fully accountable and transparent manner.’


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Social Enterprises - why are they important?

Social enterprises are often the first step on the employment ladder for individuals post release from prison or once they have finished their community-based Probation sanction. They can also be the supportive work environment people with criminal records need to re-enter the labour market despite it being many years since their last conviction or engagement with a criminal justice agency. They provide real work with real pay for people while also allowing them to prove that they have what ti takes to be employed. They also provide a much-needed employer to employer work reference. They are not the end result though.


The DOJ, along with the Irish Prison Service and Probation Service, continues to promote employment in social enterprises as a progression model, a stepping stone to achieving mainstream employment often with a greater earning potential. This progressive model is designed to create a throughput of individuals rather than create a bottleneck.

Find Your Nearest Social Enterprise

All of the social enterprises featured on this map either currently employ people with criminal records or are willing to do so in the future. More are added all the time so be sure to check back often.

logo_2000x1968.png is a directory of social enterprises selling products and services. The directory is free and offers a chance for procurers, businesses or the general public to see the best of social enterprises in Ireland. #BuySocialIRL