Social Enterprise Initiatives

Atlantic Social Lab


Cork City Council is part of a European Commission (Interreg Atlantic Area Programme) funded project called “The Atlantic Social Lab”.  The Atlantic Social Lab project aims to develop and promote social innovation approaches and methods to give response to key growing social issues.


Managed by the Community and Enterprise unit for Cork City Council the project has partners from across Europe including Spain, Portugal, France and the UK. 


The project partners include:


Avilés Municipality – Social Welfare Department, Spain

Santiago de Compostela City Council, Spain

Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Enterprise North West, Northern Ireland, UK

Cork City Council, Ireland

Regional Chamber of Social and Solidarity Economy of Bretagne, France

Agglomeration Community of Pau-Pyrénées, France

Centre for Social Studies – University of Coimbra, Portugal

CIM do Ave, Portugal


The project focuses on 4 Thematic Areas including:


  • Welfare services
  • Active public engagement
  • Green inclusive economy
  • Social Economy


Working groups in each of these thematic areas have been set up in the partner territories gathering stakeholders to assess the creation of new solutions in welfare services, implement new methods of further citizen engagements, develop green interventions to rebuild smart cities and support initiatives to strengthen social innovation and social enterprises.


In Cork, the focus is on two of these thematic areas – Public Engagement and Social Economy – and looks at using social innovation to address issues being faced by social enterprises and innovative ways of stimulating civic engagement in the city. 


One of the key actions stemming from this project in Cork is the organisation of training and networking events for Social Enterprises in the city where participants can access advice, learn about the supports that are available whilst also being able to speak about the issues they are facing and the help they need. Through one of these events we have been able to map the social enterprises in Cork city – this map can be viewed here.


The project is also facilitating the provision of mentoring for the development of a local area plan in the city and participating in a series of events to encourage migrant groups and young people to register to vote and engage with local government and community groups. 


There will be many more activities and actions planned over the next few months until the project reaches completion in November 2019. We will keep you posted!  For more information on the project go to