Belfast Telegraph

Social enterprise firm sets target of £14m in sales by 2015

By Clare Weir

A social enterprise firm in Co Londonderry has set its sights on raising sales of £14m in the next four years.

The Workspace Group, which has operated in Draperstown for 25 years, has already delivered a 600% increase in turnover inside a decade, rising to £7.6m by 2010.

Set up to stimulate social and economic regeneration in the Magherafelt area, the organisation now employs 117 people at five locations in Mid-Ulster, as well as from offices in Donegal and Wales.

Profits generated from all business ventures are used to partly or wholly fund non-commercial social projects.

The group’s new four-year strategic plan aims to increase its activities locally, nationally and internationally, with a continuing focus on increasing business through both organic growth and business acquisition, with at least two new businesses added to the group’s existing five.

Its objectives also include the establishment of a new flagship social enterprise, a £1m business equity investment fund aimed at small businesses and an energy services company with a fund of at least £1m.

The group will also work to increase provision of industrial space and boost its Workspace Community Fund for local projects to £50,000 per year and establish Workspace as a ‘Green’ enterprise centre for businesses involved in saving energy.

Workspace Group chairman, Michael McAllister, said that the economic downturn and government spending cuts are resulting in a greater-than-ever need for social enterprise to help stimulate the economy and communities.

“The Workspace Group has had significant positive impact on the local area in the past, not least a wages spend of almost £2m per annum. We aim to continue that,” he added.

Belfast Telegraph