The School for Social Enterprises in Ireland creates development programmes for groups of current/future managers, leaders and entrepreneurs. We work with clients on programme concepts, content design, recruitment, delivery and evaluation.

SSEI programmes range from one-day, internal seminars to a sustained programme of workshops and mentoring. These programmes are often devised specifically for, and funded by, organisations with responsibility for economic and community development. See example below.


Pioneering a New Delivery Model for Social Enterprise Development


The ‘TRANSFORM’ Social Enterprise Development Programme offering the award of an Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprise.
This programme is being generously supported by the Flax Trust up to the value of £2,000 for successful applicants. 

TRANSFORM is a highly focused and interactive programme designed to enable individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required to start or build social enterprise activities as a means of social regeneration, community development and financial sustainability.

Who is TRANSFORM designed for?
Individuals engaged in one or more of the following activities:
Community development and regeneration e.g. Housing Associations
Social entrepreneurs
Members engaged in existing Social Enterprises
Board members of Social Enterprises engaged in economic development through Social Enterprise
Charitable organisations looking to develop Social Enterprise activities
We will also consider individuals who are self-employed or unemployed, who wish to pursue social enterprise activities.

What does the Programme cover?
The programme is designed to provide knowledge and practical applications that will enable participants to develop and grow through a blend of; Theory, Best Practice, Case Studies, Site Visits and presentations from Exemplars & Practitioners.  By the end of the programme participants will have the knowledge to start or grow a sustainable social enterprise which can lead to real transformation within their community and beyond.

You can download the draft programme overview here.

How do I apply?

There are two ways to apply for the bursary.

  1. Online: Click here to apply online and follow the instructions provided
  2. Offline: Click here to download an application form which can then be manually filled in and emailed to SocialEconomy@podiem.com

Closing date for applications is: 5pm Tuesday 16th November 2021 with interviews scheduled prior to 2nd December 2021.

How much do I or my organisation have to contribute?

The total fees are £2,250, but with bursaries provided by the Flax Trust  up to the value of £2,000, that leaves a remaining contribution of just £250 per participant. Note this might be provided by sponsoring organisations in some cases.

Who are the key stakeholders?
Programme Provided by: The School for Social Enterprises in Ireland (SSEI)
Programme Delivered and Accredited by: Ulster University Business School
Programme Partners:
The Flax Trust
SSEI (School for Social Enterprises in Ireland)
Ulster University
Podiem are the official operations partner for SSEI

Why is a Cohort approach important?
This programme is designed to fully engage participants in building a cohesive cohort that supports and learns from each other in the short term and that will begin to build support networks that are sustainable beyond the life of the programme.

What is an Advanced Diploma?
It is a recognised University accreditation normally identified as just below a bachelor’s degree and is particularly suited to participants with a range of academic backgrounds as well as those who have the requisite experience. It is seen as very appropriate for this type of programme which is mix of academic study and practical application

What if I don’t already a higher education qualification?
Applicants can demonstrate their ability to undertake this programme through the accreditation of their prior experiential learning gained through work experience. The application process, including interviews, will provide scope to fully highlight relevant experience.

When is the deadline for submitting application forms?

Closing date for applications is: 5pm Tuesday 16th November 2021 with interviews scheduled prior to 2nd December 2021.

When are interviews?
Interviews will scheduled prior to 2nd December 2021. The interview is an opportunity to expand on your application form and will help secure places and bursaries for this sought after programme for individuals/groups where potential and long term impact can be fully realised.

When does the programme start and how long does it last?
The interview process is viewed as part of the programme and successful applicants will go on to participate in 10 delivered sessions (1 – 2 days per month) commencing in February 2022 . The ADSE Graduation will take place in winter 2022. Delivery of the programme will mainly be at Ulster University.

View the course timetable here.

What happens if I am not able to attend or drop out?
As this is s developmental programme it has been designed on the basis of full attendance. If participants have any difficulties they should contact Steve Pollard at the University in the first instance. Where there is reasonable grounds for absence, each case will be assessed on its own merit. Participants will be expected to catch up with the materials and complete all assignments.

If individuals decide to drop out there may be a requirement to return the value of the bursary or make a suitable contribution. Again each case will be assessed on its merit. (TBA)

If you experience any issues in  applying online or  downloading any of the documents please email SocialEconomy@podiem.com and we can arrange to email  copies directly to you. 

The Limerick City Programme

Graduation 9An SSEI led consortium including Podiem and UCIT supported by the Ulster Business School tendered and won a contract to deliver a year-long social enterprise intervention for Limerick City Enterprise Board.

The main aims of the programme were to:

  1. Build awareness and stimulate interest of the nature and potential of social enterprise (more commonly known as ‘community enterprise’) in Limerick.
  2. Provide a practical programme that will develop a cohort of community leaders to work through a leadership and business process that will enable them to support the creation or development of a social enterprise in their area.
  3. Provide a development process for people seeking to grow and develop a Community/Social Enterprise that would be sustainable and provide employment opportunities.

The approach adopted was to develop and deliver a 5 Phase Model (below) which had the following components:

  • PHASE 1 – The CSE Seminar Programme

The delivery of an introductory series of two CSE Masterclass Seminars which provided exposure to 4 practical case studies that demonstrated what can be achieved as well as outlined what it takes to build a successful Community/Social Enterprise in terms of skills and attitudes. (120 attendees)

  • PHASE 2 – The Leaders CSE Programme

The delivery of a series of 4 Workshop Modules which dealt with business and leadership skills that enabled community ‘leaders’ to work with and support individuals and groups involved in CSE in their local areas. (20 participants graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Management Practice)

  • PHASE 3 – Identification of CSE Business ideas

The identification of a number of community enterprises or ‘business ideas’ that had potential for longer term sustainability or growth along with the creation of jobs. (23 business ideas were submitted of which 12 were selected)

  • PHASE 4 – The CSE Development Programme

The delivery of a practical business development programme of 4 Workshops that would a) assist current and potential social entrepreneurs start a social enterprise, or b) take a current ‘community enterprise’ to the next level.  Each participating CSE business had the opportunity to apply for a business support fund of €1000 as well as access local mentoring support (Each business idea was supported by at least two and up to 4 participants at each workshop resulting in 42 people participating at this stage)

  • PHASE 5

The development of initial business plans for each of the participating business ideas teams with the potential of attracting up to €40,000 grant / loan to fund their project. (12 social enterprise established at different stages of set up).

Study Visits

1565SSEI regularly hosts study visits which allow participants to experience and understand how some of Belfast’s most successful social enterprises manage their business and positively impact their communities and stakeholders,

For more information on arranging a social enterprise study visit in Greater Belfast click here