So Circular – Celebrating Dublin’s Social and Circular Economy Ecosystem

Dublin City Council Hosts Successful So Circular Trade Expo

By Billy Linehan
It was a day of celebration and making connections at the innovative SoCircular Expo in Dublin’s Mansion House on Wednesday 5th of October.
Hosted by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, 50 Social Enterprises and Circular Economy start-ups – and a posse of development organisations were joined by interested attendees who dropped into the daylong event.

Sustainable Development Week

Organised by Dublin City Council to highlight the UN SDG – European Sustainable Development Week and the European Circular Week, the event was a lively one with panels of speakers, music, aerial acrobatics and a jazz band to complete the day.

Lord Mayor’s Welcome

Opening the event, the Lord Mayor commented

“Dublin is currently facing many challenges and will face many more as the impacts from climate change, global economic uncertainty and various trends are felt. Organisations are going to have to transform themselves if they are to thrive in a circular society.”

She went on to say,

“Early adopters will benefit from the enterprise opportunities and from working with local social and circular enterprises. We need more businesses to work with or purchase from local social and circular enterprises in order to make Dublin a more sustainable city.”

So Circular – Celebrating Dublin’s Social and Circular Economy Ecosystem

Among the start-ups we talked to at the Trade Expo were Ellie Walters of RefunkUpcycling (a furniture recycling platform who have raised €100k in an Angel investment), Pearse Ryan of HaPPE (early stage start-up focusing on reducing single use plastic in healthcare), and Susan Owens of Native Denims Dublin (slow fashion, handcrafted jeans made in Dublin City).

Other notable organisations in the exhibition included the Rediscovery Centre and Innovate Communities from Ballymun, Thriftify (the circular economy ecommerce platform for charity shops in Ireland and UK, and who are crowdfunding), Pocket Forests (aim to bring a forest ecosystem to the heart of towns and cities) and Recycle IT (a community owned social enterprise offering electrical, electronic, and metal recycling service in Dublin).

Expert Panels

The expert panel discussions featured many of the well-known voices of Social Enterprise and Circular Economy in Ireland. Representatives came from CRNI, Social Enterprise Dublin, LEO Dublin City, Rethink Ireland, Community Finance Ireland, DCU, TU Dublin, IBEC and Business in the Community.

Creating a Circular Economy

Besides networking and learning, the goal is to encourage businesses, organisations and government departments to buy from the 50 sustainable enterprises, and to empower this sector’s growth.

“This event will raise awareness of these innovative enterprises. Buying from them will bring about many benefits, such as shorter supply chains, creating resilient local employment, improving social and environmental impacts, and supporting fairer, greener and thriving communities,”

comments Mary MacSweeney, Deputy Head of Economic Development and Enterprise in Dublin City Council.

Who is behind SoCircular?

SoCircular is led by Dublin City Council in collaboration with Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy and is supported by:

Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Ibec, Eastern-Midlands Waste Region, Dublin Place Brand, Dublin City Social Enterprise Committee, Irish Social Enterprise Network, Community Reuse Network of Ireland, Dublin Regional Skills Forum, Social Enterprise Dublin, Dublin City Arts Office, Rediscovery Centre, Business Spirit News, CIRCULÉIRE and various other organisations.

Billy Linehan is a contributor to Irish Tech News, an experienced Small Business Adviser for Celtar Advisers, and a Mentor with LEO Dublin City. Check him out on LinkedIn.

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