The Role of Higher Education in Supporting the Social Enterprise Sector

This seminar was organised by Dr. Mary Fenton, WIT and funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

The seminar aimed to:

  • Discuss the growing importance of social enterprise to the Irish economy
  • Debate the role of HEIs in the development, recognition and legitimacy of the social enterprise sector through curriculum development and other teaching and learning initiatives
  • Assess the scope for HEIs partnering with Social Enterprises on curriculum-related projects e.g., applied undergraduate and postgraduate project work, case studies of local and regional social enterprises etc.
  • Explore how HEIs can build the capacity of people already working within the social enterprise sector.


  • Dr Senan Cooke, Author of The Enterprising Communities
  • Ms Tammy Darcy, CEO and Founder Shona Project
  • Ms Laura Dennehy, Head of Development, Enactus Ireland
  • Mr John Evoy, Social Enterprise Development Manager, Social Innovation Fund
  • Mr Richard Gavin, APO, Department of Rural and Community Development


Senan Cooke

The Shona Project - Tammy Darcy

SIFI - John McEvoy

Enactus - Laura Dennehy

DCRD - Richard Gavin