Social Innovation Camp week long tour of Northern Ireland

Great things happening right now

Very early on Monday morning Momentum NI launched at Stormont, they have an ambitious target: 10% of all jobs in Northern Ireland to be in the digital sector by 2020.

Another growing sector in the region is Social Enterprise. We attended the first meeting of the Social Enterprise Network which revealed the big challenges as all too familiar: disability falls between sectors as an issue, social impact is hard to measure, startup funding is rare, and retaining good staff is increasingly difficult. But the social entrepreneurs we met there seemed keen for the challenge.

Several new and existing trusts, social enterprises, charities, and public sector groups are interested in exploring new ways of managing community assets.

Northern Ireland is on the edge of making a massive leap into successful entrepreneurship – from fabulous entrepreneurs like Ruth and Trish at the Tactility Factory in Belfast to the amazing work done by the Fab Labs in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry and the business start-up work at the further educations colleges, this is a place to watch.

App ideas for good

We wanted to dig into important issues, so we got stuck into some ideas generation workshops in Belfast and Omagh:

A group from Belfast Metropolitan CollegeBusiness in the CommunityWorkWest and East Belfast Enterprise came up with a game for young boys to encourage disclosure and reward emotional recognition. This sought to tackle the high suicide rate among men in Northern Ireland (highest in the EU) which is due in part to a lack of communication.

In Omagh, our attention was drawn to issues facing rural communities in Northern Ireland. The group worked on an app to find childcare at short notice in rural areas through a network of credited minders (We hope gets submitted to our upcoming Social Innovation Camp.)


We would be remiss without discussing the first UK Capital of Culture, Derry~Londonderry. It would be a brilliant place for a Social Innovation Camp Weekend. filled with the great folk from Digital DerryilexFab LabHollywell TrustCúnamh, and Learning Pool among many others. In a 20 minute break between meetings we took a speedy walk all around the beautiful city walls, which have been standing for 400 years next week, making Derry-Londonderry the oldest walled city in Europe.