Ulster Bank welcomes Social Enterprises to Head Office in Belfast

There is sometimes a misconception that a Social Enterprise is simply another word for a charity. Social Enterprises trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.

Having met a Social Enterprise at a recent fair, Lynsey Kernohan, SME Banking, approached the Ulster Bank Sponsorship and Events Team with a vision to host a Social Enterprise Market in Ulster Bank. Following the success of the Internal Farmer's Market and supporting our Not For Profit Proposition, the market event took place in DSE staff restaurant on 20th November.

From satchels, to candles, to personalised calendars and chocolate, the market was a great opportunity for staff members to browse the stalls and purchase some early Christmas presents made by 8 local (and truly inspiring) Social Enterprises. Importantly, the event also gave the Social Enterprises a platform to share how they make a social impact, including; providing employment to adults with learning difficulties/ disabilities, offering training to people with Autism Spectrum Condition and training and developing young offenders in key employment skills.

The event was fantastic and well supported by Ulster Bank staff.

Staff visiting Orchardville stall. Staff visiting Orchardville stall.


Ann Osborne, Deputy CEO of The NOW Group addresses UB staff. Ann Osborne, Deputy CEO of The NOW Group addresses UB staff.


Director of Social Enterprise NI,  Juliet Cornford addresses UB staff Director of Social Enterprise NI, Juliet Cornford addresses UB staff


Pink Elephant stand. Pink Elephant stand.


F MacCool stall. F MacCool stall.


“I just wanted to say a big thank you for creating such a great trading space for our members today and championing the sector. It’s great to be able to give profile to the great work our social enterprises delivery locally and further afield”.

Juliet Cornford, Director Social Enterprise NI

DETI puts third sector organisations’ turnover at £1.2billion and estimates they employ almost 5% of NI’s workforce. This sector is growing and Ulster Bank is keen to have a good understanding of what a Social Enterprise is and the opportunities and challenges associated with this sector.

Colin Jess, SME Banking, welcomed Third Sector Leaders, including Marie Marin, CEO of Employers for Childcare (Ulster winner of SE award in BAA 2014), Darren Ryan, CEO Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Juliet Cornford, Director of Social Enterprise NI and Ann Osborne, Deputy CEO of NOW Project (Social Enterprise of the Year at the 2014) who gathered in DSE to share their knowledge, experience and advice to 30 Ulster Bank staff, describing the opportunities and challenges for the sector.

Private RM, Briege Bradley attended the session and commented:

“I am really delighted I attended the session in DSE, I now have a real understanding of the Social Enterprise Sector. Marie (Employers for Childcare) and Ann (NOW) are truly inspirational Business leaders, who have created vibrant businesses, that are constantly expanding within their niche areas, generating and reinvesting sizable profits, to continue to support and develop services encouraging, social change! This is most definitely not a sector to underestimated or ignored”.

Social Enterprises who attended were as follows:

  • Heart and Home
  • Stepping Stones NI
  • F MacCool & Co.
  • Vintage Satchel Co.
  • The Orchardville Society
  • Mugshots
  • Chocolate Memories
  • The Print Room



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