What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business with a difference. It accomplishes two things: it generates an income and meets a specific social goal.

For example, the business may have a positive environmental impact or maybe it achieves something with a strong cultural significance. In Ireland, there are many unique social enterprises doing their clients and local communities a lot of good.

One Yummy Mummy

Jolene Cox is a cookbook author and food educator. She runs the social enterprise One Yummy Mummy with a goal of making home cooking “the new convenience food” for busy families.

She says she has always been a problem solver, but in 2019, she participated in the Ideas Academy programme (organised by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland) and for her main project she ran a not-for-profit cooking camp for kids. The completion of the programme led her to launch her virtual Family Cooking Club.

“Research shows more than 80% of parents think cooking with their kids is important and teaches them a valuable life skill,” she says, “[though] only 32% of parents cook with their children more than once a month, and 14% admit they never cook with their kids.

“As a busy parent myself, I understand the barriers in the way - and it isn’t quite as simple as parents just not bothering to get into the kitchen with their kids,” she adds.

Armed with the knowledge that cooking is a skill which changes everyone’s lives for the better, Jolene knew that with the right funding and support, she could create a social enterprise which would place families in the kitchen together to connect over food.

Jolene believes getting kids involved in cooking fresh, simple meals will give them skills for life

“I started a cooking programme for parents in 2020 just before the pandemic hit,” she says. “Like a lot of businesses, I really had to think on my feet as all my [usual] school bookings were cancelled with a full lockdown.

This was when I trialed the Zoom classes online and discovered that it was just as effective as teaching cooking classes as in person – and, in fact, it had advantages. The kids knew their surroundings and felt even more confident in their own kitchen.

It was the online cooking classes during lockdown that sparked the idea for developing the online Family Cooking Club,” she continues. “A space online where parents and children have access to easy-to-follow video-led recipes, weekly meal planners based on easy-to-get ingredients and tutorials on basic food and cookery skills.”

Jolene gives credit to The Ideas Academy at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland for helping her turn her passion into a viable social enterprise.

Jolene is the author of Family Food Made Easy and Family Kitchen. To find out more visit oneyummymummy.com

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