BNest Incubator Programme 2018/2019 was launched on September 5 at the Nexus Innovation Centre in the University of Limerick. Pictured are Kasia Zabinska, BNest, John Evoy, founder Irish Men’s Sheds Association, Eamon Ryan, founder BNest, Tracey Lynch, CEO Tait House Community Enterprise and Pauline Gannon, BNest. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick
BNest Incubator Programme 2018/2019 supports new emerging social enterprises
By ilovelimerick correspondent Cathal Doherty
On Wednesday, September 5, 2018, the BNest Incubator Programme was launched at the Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Limerick for the 2018/19 year. Back in September 2016, Nexus Centre UL teamed up with BNest to provide this six-month programme in which emerging social enterprises learn how to get their new organisations off to the best start.
BNest, the first dedicated Social Enterprise Incubator, is an initiative created specifically to support social entrepreneurs nurture their start-ups, and caters to all types of organisations from charities to businesses with a social conscience.
This year will mark the third year of the BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Programme. Everyone was welcome to attend the BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Programme launch event, as it was great opportunity to meet those that have been selected to do this year’s BNest incubator programme and also to connect with like-minded passionate individuals who want to make a positive social impact in our local communities. BNest also announced their line up of events that will be open to the public for their upcoming autumn/winter season
Event guest speakers Tracey Lynch, CEO of Tait House Community Enterprise and John Evoy, Social Enterprise Development Manager of the Social Innovation Fund and Founder of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association; shared their social enterprise journey.
John Evoy set up the Men’s Sheds in 2011 and it now has 420 member sheds with 10,000 participating men each week. John has won a number of awards for his work and for his previous work in men’s well being and social entrepreneurship, including an Irish People of the Year Award in 2015.
“I’ve been involved in a number of social enterprise accelerator programmes. It made all the difference in the development of the Men’s Sheds Association in my experience,” John Evoy told ilovelimerick.
Tracey Lynch runs Tait House Community Enterprise, which is a community development co-operative, whose mission is to generate enterprise, employment, and training opportunities through the provision of services for the people of Limerick.
“It’s an exciting time for our social enterprise. Together with BNest, we are building a stronger platform for social enterprise in Limerick. Today social and economic equality is growing incredibly worldwide,” Tracey said at the BNest event.
There are plenty of new organisations that have signed up with BNest for their upcoming six-month programme including; Live Out Loud, which provides services to children with learning disabilities, Bereft, which is an organisation that provides services and resources for families who have struggled with a sudden loss and Cruinniú which empowers first-time smart phone users from rural communities to identify their common problems, before testing, building and sharing solutions within carefully curated group chats.
Eamon Ryan who founded BNest said, “We are the first fully-fledged social incubator in Ireland, and the idea was to create a peer group which shares experiences and helps one another. BNest has been given a home by the University of Limerick, where participants have access to the full facilities of the Nexus Innovation Centre. The venture is being philanthropically funded and participation for the enterprises selected is at no cost to them. In the last two years, 17 organisations have graduated from this BNest programme. We are so excited to welcome this year’s participants and eager to advance the beginning of their journey together.”
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Pictures: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick