The networks and linkages programme was developed as part of a review of our operations in 2008-2009. As an organisation NorDubCo is situated in a wide variety of networks and it was strongly recommended by the review that we operationalised what had been a relatively informal but significant component of our work. Since its incorporation as a coherent programme of activity we have focused on three broad areas where we work to consolidate and upgrade linkages:
- SMEs and education and training;
- Social enterprise development;
- University-regional linkages.
SMEs and education and training
NorDubCo works closely with the North Dublin Chamber of Commerce and other SME representative bodies in the region to engage with further and higher education providers in region, e.g. Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coláiste Íde, Whitehall College of Further Education and Dublin City University, and local enterprise supports, e.g. the Local Enterprise Offices. The primary aim is to build the capacity of the region’s SMEs.
Social enterprise development
NorDubCo has identified social enterprise as a key area of development for the region. In this context, NorDubCo has successfully worked to established specialist training and education programmes for social enterprises, e.g. INTERREG-funded MSc (Management of Innovation in Social Enterprises) and the Graduate Certificate in Innovation in Social Enterprise. Both of these programmes secured significant public funding and provided opportunities for social enterprises in the region to build their skills base.
NorDubCo has also worked closely with the recently established Irish Social Enterprise Network (ISEN) to organise events, access expertise and advice and advocate for more engagement by government.
Finally NorDubCo, working in conjunction with Northside Partnership and Dublin North West Area Partnership, is currently exploring the potential of a regional social enterprise network, building on the success of the recently established North Dublin Social Enterprise Training Network.
Dublin City University was a founder member of NorDubCo and we have worked closely in the area of civic engagement since our establishment. In this regard NorDubCo currently acts as the external advisory panel for the university’s civic engagement strategy and plays an active role in the university’s Civic Engagement Forum. In addition NorDubCo provides resources for the delivery of the DCU in the Community initiative.
NorDubCo also works to facilitate access to advice, expertise and resources in the university. NorDubCo devised a series of pilot regional knowledge-exchange processes and was a founder of the university’s Community Knowledge Exchange. We continue to serve as a partner in the Exchange. Furthermore NorDubCo also provides advice to local civil society organisations seeking board members etc. from the university.
Finally NorDubCo works as part of an interface between the university and Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council to facilitate greater engagement and the development of joint projects.