North Belfast Ethical Investment Portal
The North Belfast Ethical Investment programme was a Social Investment Fund (SIF) revenue project that aimed to develop and diversify the social economy in North Belfast. To realise this aim, NBEI provided investment and technical assistance to support social enterprises that were looking to redevelop an existing asset, acquire a new property or develop a new business idea located in the SIF North Zone. Examples of assistance provided by the programme included architectural, planning and design services, business planning and economic feasibility work, legal and marketing support as well as the recruitment of project staff and bespoke business mentoring. In the long term the programme aims to reduce the social economy’s reliance on grant aid/public funding and help local social enterprises in North Belfast become more resilient and financially sustainable.
NBEI was delivered by a project team that included representation from the Executive Office, the Strategic Investment Board and the Department for Economy. The Ethical Development Trust is a unique partnership between the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI) at Queens’s University Belfast and the social enterprise LEDCOM. The learning from the research is currently being taken forward in the context of a series of new initiatives being supported by Innovate UK, the Swedish Research Council and the Halifax Foundation.
The North Belfast Ethical Investment Portal aims to promote best practice and share learning experiences from programme delivery. The research component of the programme was divided into 4 individual activity areas. Each of which aimed to monitor and communicate the programme’s impact over its life course but also disseminate learning and best practice across Northern Ireland’s social enterprise sector and beyond. Produced and managed by academics from CESI at Queen’s University Belfast, the content of the 4 themes is being built upon by new research investment in this area.