Opportunity for those for want to make a social impact in their community

Kasia Zabinska and BNest, Eamon Ryan, BNest Founder (centre back) with some of the participants from the 2017-18 BNest social enterprise incubator. Picture: Cian Reinhardt

BNest is the first dedicated Social Enterprise Incubator Programme in Ireland and caters to all types of organisations from non-profits to community enterprises to businesses with a social conscience.

If you are passionate about creating real social change, are engaged in a community project that is evolving into a business or has a business start-up driven by a strong social goal, then BNest is for you! Applications for this years incubator programme are now open.

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BNest offers this six-month peer programme at no cost to participants. It is run in partnership with Nexus Centre UL for emerging social enterprises who want to get their new organisations off to the best start or take existing ones to the next level. Their incubator is specifically designed for social impact businesses as they focus on business and social aspects and also support you on your personal journey so you can fulfil your dream.

Participants will be working with a small group of fellow social entrepreneurs focusing on their own individual enterprise but will be expected to contribute to the others as well.

Each participant will receive full 6-months membership of the Nexus Innovation Centre in the University of Limerick, including shared hot desk facilities, conference room access and most importantly the opportunity to become part of the vibrant Nexus community.

Since 2016, when BNest was philanthropically founded by Eamon Ryan, the initiative have had nearly 20 participants completing their Social Enterprise Incubator Programme.

A participant from last year’s programme, Catherine O’Brien set up ODODO.ie, an online platform for parents of children with special needs, and said that working with BNest has, “Helped improve my original concept as it enabled me to take it apart, and build it right back up.”

The Limerick Gateway to Education took part in the BNest Incubator two years ago. Founder, Suzanne Roche said, “It is a fantastic programme as you have on the spot follow up if issues arise. The ongoing support for our project has continued to be valuable. A great programme to get involved in, if you’re a start-up.”

Kasia Zabinska of BNest says, “Challenges our society is facing are persistent and complex. There are no simple solutions, but Social Enterprises often provide excellent and innovative answers for areas including education, special needs, mental health, healthcare and the environment to name a few. They will drive our economy forward because modern innovation is often fuelled by a desire to improve the lives of those less fortunate.”

Eamon Ryan, founder of BNest says, “A new economic model that combines purpose and profit emerges and collaboration between industry, civil society, and the public sector is becoming a key to a more sustainable economy and society.” Speaking about what makes the BNest programme strong Eamon adds, “We have the ability to connect emerging social entrepreneurs with those who can help them, whether it is another social entrepreneur, a business advisor, a potential founder or a mentor. If you join our programme you will be surrounded by people who are amazingly passionate and they will be happy to listen, help and support you.”

Closing date for applications is August 15. The BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Programme 2018/2019 begins September 7, 2018. Apply at www.bnest.ie/apply

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