National Competence Centre for Social Innovation

Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, welcomed the announcement by an Irish-led international consortium of a new EU funded project to promote social innovation and cross-collaboration across Europe.

Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD and Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland. Pic: Marc O'Sullivan.
Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD and Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland. Pic: Marc O’Sullivan.

The objective of the project, which will take place over two years, is to establish a sustainable and responsive National Competence Centre for Social Innovation (NCCSI) in each of the partner countries.

Led by Rethink Ireland and Genio Trust (Ireland), the consortium also incorporates partners from Portugal, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

As part of their application, the European Social Fund (ESF) Managing Authority in Ireland endorsed the collaboration of Rethink Ireland and Genio to act as a National Competence Centre for Social Innovation in Ireland. The ESF+ Programme for 2021-2027 will include support for social innovation and the work of the Centre in building the national ecosystem for social innovation will be key to this support.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Minister O’Brien said:

“Under the direction of Rethink Ireland, this project is an excellent example of collaboration and partnership, bringing together a number of key organisations operating in an international context to develop social innovation.”

“Government is firmly committed to developing social innovation and social enterprise, and believes that they are key to addressing emerging social, economic and environmental needs in a sustainable manner.”

The project has been granted €650,000 from the European Union, through the European Social Fund and the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

In conjunction, a commitment of at least €60,000 has been allocated to the project by the Department of Rural and Community Development towards budgetary costs.

The aim of the project is to facilitate an international, cross-sectoral network of stakeholders and promotors who will provide support for social innovations in each country.

Among the target outcomes of the project include the strengthening of transnational cooperation, strengthened public policy to support innovation, improving conditions for testing, replication and/or upscaling of social innovations and the increased likelihood that social innovation projects become ‘scale ready’. It is also envisaged that through supports for capacity building and knowledge transfer, each country will be able to overcome and address any gaps in the social innovation ecosystem.

The Minister continued:

“Social innovators are an important part of our wider social enterprise ecosystem. They develop concepts, ideas or businesses for social good and are often assisted through philanthropic or corporate donations, supporting them, kick-starting them and enabling their ideas to be tested in a real environment.”

“The development of a National Competence Centre will greatly enhance the ability of our social innovators to respond, adapt and develop to the merging needs of our communities.”

“By continuing to work closely with stakeholders, my Department reaffirms its commitment to social enterprise and social innovation as key drivers of an inclusive and sustainable recovery.”

Further information on this project can be found at RethinkIreland

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