Rogan Welcomes Social Enterprise Economy Report

Rogan praises success of social economy sector.

The latest report detailing the success of social economies here shows the importance of supporting the sector, Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Community and Voluntary sector Emma Rogan has said.

The report, Re-balancing the NI Economy 2019, found that social enterprise is worth £625 million to the local economy. It also showed that the sector is growing in terms of employment and turnover, with its workforce doubling from 12,200 in 2013 to 24,860 in 2018.

Commenting in response to the report, Emma Rogan said: “The findings of this latest economic report into social enterprise is testament to the innovation and hard work carried out by those in the sector.

Emma Rogan, Sinn Féin South Down MLA.

“Unlike other business models, social enterprises put social value at the heart of their economic activity and it is notable that they are experiencing sustained economic growth.

“The fact that 53% of social enterprises employ workers from their immediate localities and that 43% of organisations are led by women, shows that the sector is not only growing in economic terms but is also breaking down barriers of regional imbalance and gender inequality.

“As Deputy Chair of the All Party Group on Social Enterprise I welcome the report’s findings and it’s recognition of the progress being made by social enterprise in the north of Ireland.”


Social enterprise represents a major new growth area within the economy and has become a fundamental element of a rebalanced and more plural economy in Northern Ireland, according to the latest survey of the sector.

The social enterprise sector makes a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy and is worth £625 million to the local economy, according to the first comprehensive survey of the social enterprise sector since 2013.

The ‘Rebalancing the NI Economy – 2019 report on social enterprise’ found that the social enterprise employment base has grown from 12,200 in 2013 to 24,860 in 2018; and equivalent growth in turnover has increased from £592.7 million in 2013 to £980 million in 2018. This clearly demonstrates economic growth in the sector in very difficult political and economic conditions.

Social enterprise represents a major new growth area within the economy, with 44% of the organisations surveyed commencing trade in the last five years and 25% within the last two years. 43% of the organisations surveyed are led by women.  This is consistent with social enterprise sector in the UK as a whole.

Social enterprises are operating across every industry and often work with the most vulnerable in society including the homeless, the unemployed, young offenders and people living with learning difficulties and disabilities.

53% of organisations employ half their workforce from their immediate locality and this places the sector as an important vehicle for delivering draft Programme for Government (PfG) outcomes around disadvantage, deprivation, reducing economic inactivity and delivering greater innovation.

Colin Jess, Director of Social Enterprise NI said:This report into the social enterprise work in Northern Ireland is significant in helping shape the future priorities for the sector.

“Social enterprises in Northern Ireland have a real appetite for growth and expansion, however, they need support, like any business to enable them to do this.  At Social Enterprise NI, we connect, support, develop and help sustain vibrant businesses to create social change throughout Northern Ireland.

“Social Enterprises are telling us they need more support in the form of strategic planning, management training, marketing and advocacy to help organisations maximise their capacity to grow, access external markets and become strong and equal trading partners to private businesses.

“Social Enterprise NI will continue to support these organisations as well as lobby for the introduction of a Social Value Act and work closely with local and central government and its agencies to help position social enterprise with mainstream economic policy and thinking.

“We know that the social enterprise sector makes a difference to people’s lives and we want them to make even more of a positive impact to the lives of people in Northern Ireland”.

Welcoming the report, Social Enterprise NI Chair John McMullan said:“This report establishes the growth of social enterprise over the last five years and highlights its distinct social and economic contribution, making the case as to why the Government should invest in its continued growth.

“It reinforces that social enterprises are real businesses, but their overriding social purpose ensures that they do business differently, making a real and lasting difference to peoples’ lives.

“As Northern Ireland moves towards a more plural re-balancing of its economy, there remains a missing piece in our economic jigsaw. We need an economic model that values social impact as an equivalent to price and quality.

“To achieve this, we need to align Northern Ireland with the other regions of the UK by introducing a Social Value Act, putting a statutory duty on the public sector to demonstrate and maximise the social impact of its spending priorities.”