Social Enterprise Co-design Group

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly am 2:30 pm ar 3 Mehefin 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Áine Murphy Áine Murphy Sinn Féin 2:30, 3 Mehefin 2024

T7. Ms Á Murphy asked the Minister for the Economy for an update on the first meeting of the social enterprise task force. (AQT 337/22-27)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

The first meeting of the social enterprise co-design group was on 31 May. I was able to attend the meeting briefly, which I was pleased to do. The group is highly motivated to see strategic support for the sector and used the first meeting as an opportunity to share its experience and wealth of knowledge. There was an understanding that the focus should be on trading, scaling and supply chain collaboration. The objectives will work towards making social enterprises more sustainable without relying on funding and allowing the sector to meet the expectations of social value.

It was noted that work is already being done to support the sector but that it is fragmented, making it difficult for social enterprises to access. The next step will be to identify potential barriers and what current supports are available. That exercise will show gaps in areas where we can implement short-term actions and ensure that there is no duplication. Officials agreed to bring a draft paper to the next meeting, which is on 27 June.

Photo of Áine Murphy Áine Murphy Sinn Féin

I thank the Minister for his answer. Minister, will you provide information on the group set up by the Department to develop the credit union movement?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

A meeting of that group took place a few weeks ago when my colleague Deirdre Hargey was at the helm of the Department for the Economy. It was important to come together to see the opportunities that the credit union has to support our economic plans to support regional balance, create good jobs, increase productivity and tackle issues around net zero. The Irish League of Credit Unions has a manifesto, and, in many ways, that sets the context for the working group, but the Department's work does not need to be limited to that. My colleague requested that officials provide regular updates from the working group that has been established, and I will follow through on that.