Cork - Partner City

Cork - Partner City

Cork is a vibrant and dynamic city located in the south of Ireland. It is a regional hub full of enterprise and creativity and is home to over 200,000 people. See or Doing Business in Cork.

Workshop, July 21st, 2021

Hosted by Cork City Council, Ireland - address the challenges faced by social enterprises in the post COVID-19 economy economy.   

Agenda for the Workshop hosted by Cork City Council: Fostering Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Post-Covid 19

Kuidas saab sotsiaalseid ettevõtteid toetada nende eesmärkide saavutamisel ja COVID-19 väljakutsetega toimetulekul?

Cork City Council’s Economic Development Section hosted a very successful workshop on July 21st, 2021, as part of the EU supported FOSO-POCO Project, which is looking at developing policies in the area of support for social enterprise. The Project partners are: Cork City Council; Tartu City Council, Estonia and Malta Enterprises, Malta. The on-line workshop focused on the theme of Fostering Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Post-Covid 19. Over 50 people from Ireland, Estonia and Malta attended the workshop where they received presentations on the Irish and Cork eco systems for social enterprises and case study presentations from: Rethink Ireland, Metiheal Mara, Cork Deaf Enterprises and Northside for Business. A key note address was given by Mikel Irujo Amezaga, Minister for Economic and Business Development in the Regional Government of Navarre in Spain and Rapporteur European Committee of the Regions on the renowned role that social enterprises play in Navarre, Northern Spain.

Mr Donal Guerin from the Economic Development Section of Cork City Council who organized the workshop said that:

The workshop brought together practitioners in the field of social enterprise from right across the EU. We learned that we face many of the same challenges arising from Covid-19, but there was agreement that social enterprises will play a major role in leading the recovery”.  More information on the workshop can be viewed in the Cork Workshop Report, which can be found further on in this section.

Some of the attendees at the July 21st, Workshop:


Case studies:

1. Churchfield Community Trust

Churchfield Community Trust a community-based organisation located on the Northside of Cork City. It responds to a very specific group of young people who need intensive support, therapeutic interventions, stability, and acceptance, to achieve sustainable change at a crucial time in their lives.

Churchfield Community trust offers vocational training, continuing education, and enterprise skills with a focus on further education. Special category community employment and continuing adult education initiatives provide a platform for progression to sustainable employment and re-integration within communities of origin for our participants. Churchfield Community Trust works collaboratively with people on Special Category Substance Misuse Community Employment and through the provision of personal, vocational, and educational supports.

Churchfield Community Trust as an organisation believes that all people should have the opportunity and supportive environment to overcome challenges re alcohol, substance misuse and offending behaviour.

 2. Benchspace

Benchspace is a not for profit, shared workspace, providing community access to affordable studio bays, professional equipment, and digital-fabrication technologies. As a social enterprise, it lowers barriers for creative startups and individuals, by providing affordable work space, shared workshop equipment, mentoring and training, at that vulnerable early career stage, retaining them in Cork to the betterment of the city. It aims to support creative and socially innovative people, provide skills-based education in making, and strengthen opportunities for initiatives that benefit Cork’s communities and creative economy. In 2021, Benchspace successfully tendered for a contract to manufacture and install outdoor seating infrastructure with Cork City Council. Part of the procurement process included a weighting for impact on promoting social inclusion.

 3. Cork Deaf Enterprises.

Deaf Enterprises is Ireland’s only dedicated employer of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D and HH) Community. Founded in 1987 by Fr. Bill Clarke, the Social Enterprise  charity (CH. 8730) was set up to tackle the high rates of unemployment among Cork’s deaf community and has subsequently grown throughout its history to provide direct employment, training and placement opportunities. The shop and workshop in Ballinlough opened in 1988 and currently provides a range of services, including furniture upholstery, French Polishing, bespoke furniture manufacturing and restoration and bicycle upcycling services.  Over 100 deaf and hard of hearing people have participated in direct employment, training and work experience initiatives, several of whom have gone on to develop their careers with employers elsewhere.

4. Meitheal Mara.

Founded in 1993, Meitheal Mara is a community boatyard in the heart of Cork City, a registered charity and training centre. Our primary objective is to grow and integrate Cork city’s maritime recreation and tourism sector at a purpose built river-side site and to promote, organise and undertake training in the community in maritime skills, including boat-building and seafaring skills; to promote the advancement of education of the public in the maritime field; to support and assist in projects which facilitate greater access to the sea and inland waterways for the public at large and to support and assist in projects which facilitate greater access to sea and inland waterways for those who would not otherwise have access readily available.