Who we are
Social Enterprise NI is the representative body for social enterprises and social entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland. Connecting, supporting, developing and sustaining vibrant businesses to create social change. We are an independent, member-led organisation and a gateway for social enterprises in Northern Ireland.
We create a space in which all players, irrespective of size or experience, have their voice heard and can learn from one another. We also provide opportunities for collaboration between social enterprises and the public and private sectors. Our activities support all levels, from start-ups and community groups at the beginning of their social enterprise journey, to more experienced social enterprises. Together, we aspire to achieve an environment where society profits and social enterprises excel at addressing and meeting community needs.
Meet the staff team
Colin Jess – Director
Colin took on the position of Director at Social Enterprise NI in June 2016 having spent 38 years working across local financial institutions. During his time mainly in Ulster Bank, Colin was a member of the senior management team within Business Banking. In the Bank Colin lead the Banks interaction and relationship with key stakeholders across, social enterprise, charity and voluntary sectors, as well as engaging with the Public Sector.
Colin is currently a Council Member of NI Chamber of Commerce and in December 2020 was appointed to the reconstituted Procurement Board to represent the social enterprise sector. He is passionate about the benefits of social value in procurement. Colin also sits on the High Street Taskforce Forum as well as the Belfast City Councils, Growing the Economy & City Development Board. He is an Ambassador for local charity Start360 and a member of The Resurgam Trust Advisory Panel. He is formerly Chair of the Finance and Governance Committee of Women in Business.
Outside of work Colin enjoys family life and supporting Glentoran Football Club where he is a Board Member since 2016.
To Contact Colin:
Mobile: 078 7247 0327
Amanda Johnston – Operations & Membership Manager
Amanda’s carries out the role of Manager of Operations and Membership. She has been an integral part of the team at Social Enterprise NI (SENI) from the inception of the organisation in 2012 and remains to this day, the only original member of staff. Amanda’s knowledge of the sector is invaluable, and she eats, sleeps, breathes all things Social Enterprise.
Amanda is also the link between SENI and its “sister” organisations across the UK, bringing best practice to the sector NI but also profiling the work of SENI to a wider audience. She has taken her turn to represent SENI on judging panels, attends events outside of working hours and willingly deputises for the Director at meetings with sectors from all sectors.
If you are looking for support Amanda’s currently has responsibility for:
Leading on membership development: Amanda is the first port of call for members who require assistance knowing that they will get a positive and friendly response.
Identifying and facilitating trading opportunities: Amanda has a key role in securing as many trading opportunities as possible for members, between each other and other sectors including promoting the concept of “Buy Social”
Knowledge sharing/Networking events: Amanda has also led on developing and organising a range of seminars, training events and networking events on relevant topics for members.
Amanda has worked in the Third Sector from 2002 in a range of organisations including those with a focus on supporting social enterprises. She is an excellent networker and engages well with individuals at all levels within an organisation. She has a fantastic ability to ensure she is up-to-speed with all relevant support initiatives and signpost appropriately due to her skills in connecting and networking with a wide range of support organisations and key stakeholders within the third sector.
Amanda has a BSc Hons in Business Management and Finance and is a Clore Fellow since 2019.
To Contact Amanda:
Mobile 07734 820180
David Arthurs – Business Development & Public Sector Engagement Manager
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 where 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 re-joining the 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.
If you are looking for support David currently has responsibility for:
Local government engagement: David is the first port of call for all 11 Local Councils who require assistance knowing that they will get a positive and friendly response.
Central government engagement: David has a key role in securing the support and working with the members of the Legislative Assembly in the NI Assembly at Parliament Buildings. David is also the secretary to the All-Party Group on Social Enterprise.
Keeping members and stakeholders up to date: David has responsibility for the organisations weekly news bulletin which keeps members and stakeholders updated on what’s going on in the sector. David also manages the website and like Amanda also leads on developing and organising a range of seminars, training events and networking events on relevant topics for members.
To Contact David:
Mobile: 07936 931462