What is Social Enterprise?

There is almost a small industry grown up on defining what a social enterprise is.

Some definitions are short and snappy, some take paragraphs and there are even some definitions that claim there is no such thing actually as a social enterprise anyway!

The positive of this is you get to choose the one you like which is exactly what we have done! Ours is “The use of entrepreneurial activity for social impact”. For those interested in such things it came originally from Charles Leadbetter about twenty years ago.

Social Entrepreneurship

[soh-shuh l ahn-truh-pruh-nur-ship]

“use of entrepreneurial activity for social impact”

That covers a wide range of businesses/organisations. It could be:

• a full commercial business where the “social impact” is in the business model

• a start-up serving a specific need of a disadvantaged target group

• a non-commercial support group

What it does not include, under our definition are organisations such as pure charities, where the reason for existing is fund raising for distribution to supported bodies, or advocacy groups where the sole focus is on awareness and driving changes in public policies or behaviours.

Do you want to see some examples?
Check our previous participants:

BNest Approach

We believe social enterprises face the the same problems in setting up as a commercial businesses with an extra few challenges thrown in.

BNest was created specifically to support social enterprises, by addressing all 3 aspects: Business, Social and also Personal.

What makes BNest Social Enterprise Incubator unique?

Personalised support for your Social Enterprise

BNest helps you along your start up journey – bringing clarity to your social impact, the business needed to deliver on that and helping you take control of the compromise at the heart of every  social enterprise.

Help in striving for the personal balance that works for you

Start-ups are tough – social start-ups even tougher –requiring you to find that balance point between the business needs, the social needs and your personal needs. BNest is about helping you strike that balance where all three can thrive and grow, equipping you with the skills and resilience to travel through the journey.

Your Dream, Your Effort, Your Progress – Your way

BNest is a programme to help you as you work towards your dream, founded on the best knowledge and practice out there,  but always practical and giving you access to objectivity and skills that help you with your judgments on your journey.


We are delighted to be part of the Nexus Innovation Centre community.

Nexus is a purpose-built Innovation Centre at the heart of the University of Limerick.  It is a hub of activity where entrepreneurs can develop, collaborate and grow.


The BNest Programme relies on the willing contributions of many people for their time and expertise over the programme. Below is the list of people who made 2016/2017 editon possible.

Eamon Ryan, BNest Founder

Pauline Gannon, Social Entrepreneur

Kasia Zabinska, Founder, GSD.ie

Michelle Daly Hayes, PR & Marketing Consultant

Gert O’Rourke, Nexus Centre Manager, UL

Simone Power, Nexus Marketing & Admin Manager, UL

Oliver Herbst, DIT & UL lecturer & Entrepreneurship Researcher

Briga Hynes, Course Director, International Entrepreneurship Programme, KBS

Patrick Cunneen, Organisational Consultant

David Byrne, Dualtron

Austin Ryan, AMCS

Diarmuid Ó Coirbui, Carmichael Centre

Donal Traynor, Community Finance Ireland

Rose Hally, Community Finance Ireland

Caroline Egan, CramdenTech

Pat Sheehan, BDO

Debbie Rennick, ACT

Martina Minogue, Clare Local Development Company

Emma Murphy, Counselling Care Cork

Craig McKeown, Enactus / UL


Coming soon…

+353 (0) 61 332 929

Nexus Innovation Centre
Tierney Building
University of Limerick
Limerick, Ireland