The voice for Social Enterprises & Social Entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland. Connecting, supporting, developing and sustaining vibrant businesses to create social change.


Staff Team



Colin Jess - Director 



Colin joined Social Enterprise NI in June 2016 having spent 38 years working in local financial institutions. Most recently Colin worked for Ulster Bank in Belfast and recently left after 28 years, holding a senior management position in Business Banking. Over the past three years Colin held the post of Lead Ambassador for the Banks strategy in working with the Third Sector in NI and RI and has developed a large network of stakeholders across the charity, social enterprise and community and voluntary sector.
Colin also led the banks Public Sector strategy and particularly working with the NI Councils in respect of their new responsibility for driving social, women and youth enterprise. Colin also works with organisations such as Young Enterprise NI and Prince’s Trust. Colin is a Non-Executive board member and Chair of the Finance and Governance Committee of Women in Business, a recently appointed ambassador for charity Start360, and a Mentor with the Entrepreneurial Spark programme in Belfast.  
Colin is a Licentiate of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland and enjoys many sports, especially golf and cricket, along with being a season ticket holder at Ulster Rugby.

Amanda Johnston – Operations and Membership Manager                 


Amanda plays a vital role in Social Enterprise NI and is highly thought of in the sector.   She has been involved in Community Development/ Social Enterprise for over 15 years working in a range of organisations in both Development Officer and Managerial roles. 

During her time with Inter Estate Partnership she managed a staff team of 6 and a consortium of 12 groups under the umbrella, securing in access of 1 million pounds and increasing the capacity of Partnership and securing its sustainability.

She has worked tirelessly since the Social Enterprise NI was formed in 2012, to work to secure new members and stay engaged with our current membership base of 270 members.  Her networking ability and knowledge of the sector is invaluable to the SENI and our members helping to meet a diverse range of needs of our members.

She is passionate about the sector and runs regular training courses and facilitation on social enterprise as a business model.  She is also an experienced fundraiser and had helped many organisations develop business and strategic plans.

Amanda has been instrumental in developing the size and scale of our Annual Conference and Awards Dinner where we showcase the amazing work of organisations in the sector throughout the previous year to around 600 people. 

Amanda is also a Trustee on the Boards of Grove Housing Association, Co-operative Alternatives & Stepping Stones NI.

Amanda previously also worked for Danny Kinahan MLA and also stood for Council in Antrim Town in 2011 and has a keen interest in politics which helps her with her role for lobbying local government for legislation for Social Value.

Amanda enjoys a healthy lifestyle and attends the gym every morning before work, she also enjoys dog walking, reading and music.  

Amanda has a BSc Hons in Business Management and Finance.   


David Arthurs – Business Development Executive/Admin    


David Joined the team at Social Enterprise NI in March 2019. He had previously volunteered with the organisation for the previous 12 months.

David is a former Elected Representative in local Government within the Antrim & Newtownabbey Council Area serving the Ballyclare DEA. 

This is were he caught the Social Enterprise Bug, during his time in council he conducted a tour of the sector and visited many of our members. He also for a short time worked at USEL in Ballymena, before joining our team here at Social Enterprise NI.

David comes from a background in retail having previously worked for ASDA and the Henderson Group. His interests are music and sport especially football, he is also a former director at Irish Premiership Football club, Crusaders.