Pictured, BNest along with the 2017 participants of their Social Enterprise Incubator. The organisations taking part in the current BNest incubator will showcase their social enterprises in the upcoming showcase on Tuesday, March 13 at the Nexus Innovation Centre, Tierney Building, University of Limerick.
BNest Showcase 2018 highlights the importance of Social Enterprise in the Midwest
by ilovelimerick correspondent, Chloe O’Keeffe
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. On Tuesday, March 13, BNest are holding their Showcase Day 2018 to highlight these enterprises and the substantial progress that has been made with the help of BNest, as well as to allow others to view the real social impact that each individual organisation is having on the broader community they are serving.
Since September 2016, in partnership with Nexus Centre UL, BNest have been running a six-month programme in which emerging social enterprises learn how to get their new organisations off to the best start by focusing on key areas related to developing their enterprises, in terms of business, social and personal aspects.
Eamon Ryan who founded and self-funded BNest said, “We are the first fully fledged social incubator in Ireland, and the idea was to create a peer group which shared experiences that could help 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 for three years at a cost of about €20,000 per programme, while participation is free for the enterprises selected. Last year, nine enterprises completed the programme, and there are another eight enterprises taking part in this year’s programme.”
At the BNest Showcase 2018, the graduates will showcase their enterprises which are achieving real social impact across the Midwest, dealing with various issues from mental health to the environment. Eamon adds, “These passionate people have worked on their projects for the past 6 months and we are excited to invite you to join us for a showcase event, where you’ll learn more about each of the projects and meet the people behind them.”
In addition to the display booths a short informal presentation will be made by each enterprise including Limerick Autism Group, a support service for autistic children, their parents and siblings and Visual Limerick, a project to help showcase the positive attributes of Limerick by utilising shop windows and promoting Limerick’s educational, literary, artistic and innovation works, concepts and ideas.
Current BNest Incubator participant, Catherine O’Brien set up an online platform for parents of children with special needs called ‘ODODO’, and says that working with BNest has, “Helped improve my original concept as it enabled me to take it apart, and build it right back up.” Evelyn Pepperrell of ADD/ADHD Midwest Support Group who completed the programme last year said, “The programme has given our group massive confidence in putting our message forward. The ongoing support for our project has continued to be invaluable as you have on the spot follow up if issues arise.”
The Limerick Gateway to Education were also involved with the BNest Incubator last year. Founder, Suzanne Roche said, “I took part in the BNest Incubator programme last year, and its content and ongoing support for our project has continued to be invaluable. When I started the project in 2012, I was very much on my own, it’s a fantastic programme as you have on the spot follow up, if issues arise. A great programme to get involved in, if you’re a start-up.”
BNest extends a friendly welcome to the BNest Showcase 2018 on Tuesday, March 13 from 3.30pm to 5.30pm at the Nexus Innovation Centre, Tierney Building, University of Limerick. All are welcome and admission is free but registration is essential. To register go to www.bnest.ie/events.
This years featured Social Enterprises are:
A smart and cost-effective way of delivering locally produced fresh food straight to your door – helping build stronger community bonds between local food producers and consumers
“Re-use, recycle & reduce” – a furniture recycling scheme that creates dual impacts -helping people in need while reducing waste going to landfill.
Ododo helps to strengthen mental resilience for parents of children with disabilities through a learning programme designed specifically to their needs.
A community-driven initiative looking to put Castleconnell on a map as food, health and wellbeing destination. A unique social enterprise tourism initiative which also helps in tackling social issues to create a more resilient community.
Limerick Autism Group is all about providing support for autistic children and also to their parents and siblings. Camps run by LAG include everything to facilitate fun, joy and laughter – sensory games, music therapy, art and crafts, soccer, basketball and much more.
Visual Limerick is a project to help showcase the positive attributes of Limerick by utilising shop windows and other public spaces to promote Limerick’s educational, literary, artistic, design and innovation works, concepts and ideas – it is a simple yet powerful way to build a positive image of Limerick.
Back2New is a community upcycling service with a difference, combining creative talents with upcycling skills while providing a retail outlet for the talents that emerge to broaden the work choices for participants.
Irish Criminal Civil Justice & Disability Network is an initiative concentrating on the Justice system – Gardai, Legal, Probation and Prison Services – to help them improve the experience of those with an intellectual, learning or physical disability who engage with them as a victim, witness, suspect or offender.
For more stories on BNest go here.
For more info on BNest go here.