EPIC Social Enterprise
The Irish government’s National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 defines a social enterprise as “a business whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal or environmental impact. Like other businesses, social enterprises trade in goods or services on an ongoing basis. However, any surpluses they generate are re-invested into achieving a social impact.”
In the case of our EPIC (Enhancing Progress, Inspiring Change) social enterprise, this social impact is the creation of safer and healthier communities through the training and employment of ex-prisoners, those with prior criminal convictions, and people in recovery from addiction. The people who engage with us want to break away from the grip of criminality and drug use, but without the support of our social enterprise they typically find it difficult to gain a foot up the employment ladder because of past issues.
The core business of our EPIC social enterprise is the production of a range of printed promotional materials such as tee shirts, caps, mugs, bags, pens, conference materials etc. Like many other businesses, the demand for our products slowed when the pandemic struck. However, in response to the challenge of COVID-19, and to respond to a societal need, we diversified into the supply of hand sanitiser. In addition to our core business, clients in our four units in Wexford Town, Gorey, Enniscorthy and New Ross, are now engaged in bottling, labelling, packing, and shipping our Virus Killer hand sanitiser whilst adhering to the guidelines on social distancing, enhanced hygiene regimes and other health and safety requirements.
EPIC social enterprise is a programme within the Cornmarket Project, a community based service for ex-prisoners, those with previous criminal convictions and people with substance misuse problems.