The Development Unit of LIT takes the lead with regard to the development of social enterprise in the Mid West Region and beyond. Social Enterprises are organisations or businesses set up to tackle social, economic or environmental issues. Driven primarily by social and/or environmental motives, they engage in trading or commercial activities to pursue these objectives and produce social and community gain and are committed to social justice and social inclusion. LIT is involved in numerous activities to support Social Enterprise:
- In co-operation with North Tipperary Leader Partnership it has run a Social Enterprise Start programme for those interested in the possibility of starting a social enterprise. This six-week part-time programme provided training with experts in social and commercial enterprise; it gave participants an opportunity to share ideas and hear the ideas of others; to learn about how to organise a social enterprise; the values and structures involved; setting up a company or co-operative; product development, management, HR, finance and marketing; and to refine and test an enterprise idea with the support of others.
- It is a member and active participant in Communities Creating Jobs. CCJ is an organisation founded on the belief that Ireland contains many communities with jobs/enterprise focused projects at various stages of development. There are also many other communities who don't know how/where to start on this enterprise creation journey and as time progresses these areas become significantly less resilient to the many external negative forces which impact on society (http://www.ccj.ie/)
- It works with and assists those who wish to establish and run a social enterprise in their communities. Amongst those with whom they have worked on such projects are Dunhill Ecopark in County Waterford and the North Tipperary Green Enterprise Centre in Cloughjordan.
- Engagement in EU R&D Projects to increase knowledge and capacity of Social Enterprises and relevant stakeholders to develop, expand and optimise their operations. LIT participates both as a leader and partner in such projects and is willing to engage with National and International partners to explore new opportunities and avenues in this evolving area.