Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA)
Launches their Stakeholders’ Report
2019 -2020

Report highlights the progress and challenges faced by its four divisions of Wexford Enterprise Centre, Datagroup, Recycling 2000 and TradeBridge during 2019 and 2020

Co-founder of Salesforce Europe
and member of Wexford Enterprise Association Board,
Dr David Dempsey to officially launch the Report
Independent; Not-for-Profit; For Wexford, By Wexford

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA) launched their Stakeholders’ Report highlighting the progress and challenges faced by the organisation during 2019 and 2020.

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA), an independent, not-for-profit organisation, was formed in 1986 by a voluntary committee of local community, diocesan and business leaders against the backdrop of the dire economic climate of the 80s.

WEA currently employs 30 members of staff within its Social Enterprise divisions of Wexford Enterprise Centre (WEC), one of Ireland’s first and largest Enterprise Centres, Datagroup, a national supplier of document management services, and Recycling 2000, manufacturers of animal bedding products made from old newspaper which diverts hundreds of tons of wastepaper from entering landfill each year.

These social enterprises not only create direct employment opportunities, but they also help to provide the necessary revenue streams required to partially fund Wexford based social advancement initiatives such as youth mental health and disability employment opportunities. Funding is also generated within their social enterprises to support entrepreneurial development initiatives like the Student Enterprise Awards programme and the TradeBridge Initiative. TradeBridge is an international trade and export initiative linking Wexford Companies with customers in Savannah, Georgia. It is operated in association with Wexford County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), the World Trade Center Savannah, and Georgia Southern University.

The key highlights of the report include:

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA):

  • Creating social enterprises to generate social and entrepreneurial change.
  • Has created 2000 jobs across 200 companies since it began.
  • More than 80% of its income is self-generated
  • €1.2m per annum of expenditure into the local economy

Social Enterprise

  • Wexford Enterprise Centre (WEC) – Resident Companies contribute €10m per annum to the local economy each year. 
  • Datagroup – set up in 2010 to create employment opportunities for those combating disability, social exclusion and marginalisation.
    • Employed an average of 23 people in 2019 and 2020
    • 50% of employees have a physical disability
    • 11 years highest level ISO security standards certification
    • 100m pages of information managed
    • 400 local, national and international clients
  • Recycling 2000 – Produces high-quality, environmentally friendly animal bedding product from recycled newspaper. Set up in 1993 to create direct employment and to improve our local environment.

Environmental Impact

  • In each year of 2019 and 2020, Datagroup and Recycling 2000 combined, diverted 700 tonnes of paper from our landfills. This resulted in the saving of:
    • 11,900 trees
    • 4.9m gallons of water
    • 266,000 gal of oil
    • 2.8m kw of energy
    • 2,100 cm less in our landfills

Social Advancement

  • Youth Mental Health Programme – Partnered with Ferns Diocesan Youth Service (FDYS) to help fund Youth Mental Health Programme.
    • Funding allowed quicker access for 112 youth people in Co. Wexford to professional counselling services through enhanced assessment capabilities. Hundreds more young people were then supported through other youth service programmes. Participants were aged between 10-24 years old. 69% female and 31% male.
  • Disability Employment Opportunities – WorkAbility Initiative launched in 2019. Partnering with Employability Wexford, this programme gives Resident Companies in Wexford Enterprise Centre incentives and supports to employ people with disability.
    • 19% of WEC Resident Companies participate in this initiative
    • 50% of Datagroup employees have a physical disability

Entrepreneurial Development

  • Student Enterprise Awards – co-founded in 1994 with Wexford County Enterprise Board, (formally Wexford Local Enterprise Office) who successfully manage this programme today in association with Wexford Enterprise Centre.
    • In the academic year of 2019/2020 1,155 students created 480 mini-companies in 18 schools in Co. Wexford
  • TradeBridge – an international trade initiative linking Savannah, Georgia
    • 35 companies from Wexford and the Southeast engaged with the TradeBridge pilot programme, representing the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Agritech, Education and Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) sectors.
    • 100+ business to business meetings
    • Received confirmation of three-year funding from Enterprise Ireland to develop the international trade programme into a Regional Development Programme expanding throughout the Southeast of Ireland.

Chairman of Wexford Enterprise Association, Éamonn Murphy said, “Our journey has presented many challenges along the way. 2019 was particularly difficult and brought several new challenges which were not of our making. During 2020, Covid-19 tested us in ways we never thought possible. But adversity forces new thinking, change, and a determination to succeed. With guidance from our dedicated voluntary Board, our Chief Executive Brendan Ennis and his team, we embraced change, developed new strategies, and delivered for those we serve, while remaining true to our core values of integrity, inclusiveness, and innovation.”
Dr David Dempsey, co-founder of Salesforce Europe and member of the Wexford Enterprise Association Board, officially launched the Stakeholder’s Report. David hails from Wexford and is Country Leader and General Manager at Salesforce Ireland. Additionally, David is Salesforce’s Senior Vice President for EMEA Corporate Relations and sits on the Salesforce European Leadership Team. Under David’s leadership he has overseen the growth of the European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division of Salesforce from a three person Irish start up to a pan-European business with offices across Europe including regional hubs in Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam and Munich.
Prior to establishing Salesforce EMEA, David held executive positions at Oracle, in both the UK and at home, including nine years spent as Head of Ireland Consulting Services. David is a certified Member of the Institute of Directors and has both an MBA (2005) and DBA (2015) from Waterford Institute of Technology. His recent book ‘Industry Trends in Cloud Computing’ was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2018.
Launching the Stakeholders’ Report, Dr Dempsey commented, “I was invited to join the board of Wexford Enterprise Association back in 2015. It’s unique business model and the many dynamic people, past and present, that have served on the board, made me want to be part of this team working for the betterment of Wexford. I believe the phrase is: Think globally. Act locally.” 
The Wexford Enterprise Association Stakeholders’ Report 2019 – 2020 is available to read on their website www.weaireland.ie

Twitter @WEAireland
LinkedIn – Wexford Enterprise Association

For photographs and/or interviews contact:
Elizabeth Rose l Communications Officer l Wexford Enterprise Centre l 087 211 6903 elizabeth@wec.ie

Notes to the editor:
Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating social enterprises to generate social and entrepreneurial change and to nurture emerging and existing Start-ups and SMEs for sustainable job growth in Co. Wexford.

Wexford Enterprise Association has four divisions, Wexford Enterprise Centre, Datagroup, an information management organisation, Recycling 2000 and Tradebridge, an international trade initiative linking Savannah, Georgia, USA and Wexford.

Wexford Enterprise Centre (WEC), the first of its four divisions, opened its doors in 1989.
The first of its kind in Ireland, Wexford Enterprise Centre was established to help combat high levels of local unemployment, social exclusion and marginalisation by supporting the creation of sustainable local employment through the encouragement and stimulation of private and co-operative enterprises. WEC is based on a social enterprise model of commercial sustainability, entrepreneurial development and social advancement. It is recognised nationally for its innovative and proactive approach to business development, mentoring and training. It is now a centre of excellence and home to 32 businesses offering a variety of high-spec work spaces including office spaces, commercial units, food production units, clean tech-space units and a start-up hub, ‘The Cube’, ten individual work spaces specially designed for concept and early stage start-ups. It also encompasses two state-of-the-art meeting/training rooms and an on-site café, the Centre Point Cafe. www.wec.ie

Datagroup was established following a research project aimed at creating employment for individuals combating disability, social exclusion and marginalisation, As a result Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA) in collaboration with Pobal, launched this new social enterprise in 2010. At the core of the company is the concept of matching ability to task. This ensured that every member of staff, regardless of their physical ability or disability, could work together as equal members of a team.

Datagroup specialises in the delivery of GDPR compliant document management services including document scanning, document storage, and confidential shredding services. All client information is processed at the highest level of European Security Standards through their ISO 27001:2013 certified Security System and supported by their ISO 9001:2015 Certified Quality Management System. www.datagroup.ie

Recycling 2000 commenced operations in 1993 with the aim of developing a range of Animal Bedding products for the equine and dairy markets by using old newspapers collected from various locations around Co. Wexford and the Southeast. The main objectives of the project however were to create employment within our local community for individuals combating social disadvantage and marginalisation, improve the environment in which we live, and reduce the amount of waste entering landfill. This project operates in collaboration with Pobal and Wexford County Council. Newspapers are sourced from 95 recycling collection points throughout Co. Wexford and the Southeast then manufactured into safe, environmentally friendly and biodegradable animal bedding products, marketed as Agribed. This innovative product offers many distinct advantages over the traditional animal bedding products such as straw, sawdust and shavings.

TradeBridge was launched in 2018 by Wexford Enterprise Association, through Wexford Enterprise Centre and in conjunction with Wexford County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and the World Trade Center Savannah. The trade initiative began as a pilot project with the key aim to create a trade corridor into the US for Wexford companies, as well as creating a new gateway for Savannah based businesses to export into Europe.

The relationship between Wexford and Savannah was based on historical ties spanning 170 years, from the time when immigrants from Wexford fled the famine and settled in Savannah. This shared history and culture created the strong foundation from which TradeBridge was built. 35 companies from Wexford and the Southeast engaged with the TradeBridge pilot programme, representing the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Agritech, Education and Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) sectors.

With the provision of a further three-year funding granted from Enterprise Ireland under their Regional Enterprise Development Fund, TradeBridge is now developing into a fully-fledged Regional Development Programme which will see it expand into the five counties in the Southeast of Ireland and the sixteen counties in the Southeast region of Georgia.