Do you have an idea for a social enterprise?
Currently running a social enterprise and want to take it to the next level?
Do you live in the Lisburn & Castlereagh council area?

If so, the innovative new SuNSE project could help bring your concept to market.

Until March 2022, SuNSE will be delivering training, workshops and networking events to help those just starting their social enterprise journey, as well as existing businesses that require extra development support.

Topics range from choosing the right legal structure and asset management to communication. Participants will also be offered one-to-one specialised mentoring to help bring a product or new service idea to market, and networking resources to help stay in touch with other social enterprises. Social Enterprise Networking Hubs will be located in Lisburn and Dundonald to host workshops, business clinics and networking events.

SuNSE is jointly funded by LCCC and the EU Interreg North West Europe programme. DTNI has been contracted to deliver the programme.

If you currently run a social enterprise or if you’re thinking about setting one up and would like to take part in this programme, click below for an application form. For more information, email

For more information on the SuNSE EU network go to


Who can apply?

Anyone interested in setting up a business as a social enterprise.

What support is provided?

Business advice.
Networking with other social enterprises and individuals interested in setting up a social enterprise.
Access to online SuNSE resources.
Access to a network of social enterprises from the North-West Europe area.

How long is the programme?
What is my time commitment?

Access the material at and work through it at your own pace. Alternatively, attend a Social Enterprise Hub or one of the workshops and networking events that will be held across the LCCC area. The time commitment is up to you.

Is there a cost?

No cost. It’s free to all participants.

What happens at the end?

All participants on the programme will be signposted to other appropriate business programmes and events.

Your SunSE Mentors

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Nigel McKinney

Nigel McKinney has more than 20 years’ experience working in a number of leadership roles within the voluntary, community, and social enterprise sector, and is currently working at Rural Community Network. His knowledge and interests cover social enterprise development, community festivals, health & social care, digital connectivity and innovation, and rural development. Nigel is also hugely experienced in the areas of community engagement, institutional fund raising, and project and action planning.

Bridget Rippey headshot
Bridget Rippey

Bridget is an independent human resources/personnel consultant. She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (UK), and a member of the Institute of Health Management. Bridget has over 22 years middle and senior management experience in public service, including ten years specifically in HR. She established BridgeHR Consulting in 2008 and since then has built up a sound client base working primarily with community organisations and more recently new enterprises in the business community. Bridget has a particular interest in employee engagement and organisational development, and has significant experience in facilitation.

Tony Clarke headshot
Tony Clarke

Tony is a certified public accountant with in-depth knowledge of the charitable sector including working with a range of funders and grant-making bodies. He has a unique understanding of the wider sector and the
challenges faced by charities; in particular, relating to funding cuts and increased competition in the aftermath of Covid-19. Tony has a wealth of experience working with CEOs and boards assisting with organisational budgets, preparing and presenting management accounts, and payroll workings.

Gillian Gibson

Gillian Gibson has over 30 years’ experience working within the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and has particular expertise in working with early start-up social enterprises. Gillian led the development of Footprints Women’s Centre, which went on to employ 50+ staff, and generated almost half of its income, (£600k – £1M) through the trading activities of two very successful social enterprise businesses: Footprints Catering Services and Footprints Daycare Services.  Additionally, Gillian contributed to the development of one of the first social supermarkets to open in NI.

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