In order for the current economic situation to improve there is a need for an increased level of enterprise development in Ireland. While large FDI and indigenous enterprises are crucial to meeting this need, there is also an opportunity for smaller-scale developments which, if sufficient in number and distribution can also add significantly to economic recovery.
Firstly, there are many people who have ideas for successful enterprises but who are inhibited from pursuing their ideas even to the extent of exploring them with enterprise support agencies.
Secondly, the development of an enterprise often requires access to various physical and land-based resources. These resources may well be available within a community but may be under-utilised or inaccessible.
Thirdly while there are many fine voluntary community organisations established in Ireland; however, very few of these voluntary organisations have the primary task of identifying, promoting and supporting the establishment of job-creating enterprises within their areas.
Fourthly, enterprise development agencies do not have the resources to provide the extent of support that would be needed to bring potential projects to an agency-ready stage of development. Agencies generally can only be responsive whereas a community-based, voluntary organisation can be more motivational and stimulating. A CCJ organisation can actively engage with its community members in a low-key, informal way and bring them to a stage where they are in a position to progress their enterprise.
In order to help stimulate relatively small-scale jobs at a community level, the encouragement of owners of both ideas and assets in a low-key, neighbourly, non-threatening way, has the potential to mobilise resources that are not mobilised by the normal enterprise development agencies and to identify opportunities in a way that is beyond the remit and the capacity of those organisations.
Fifthly, a huge reservoir of knowledge, experience, skills and talent lies within communities but a mechanism for the sharing of that community knowledge and experience is required. CCJ, through the use of its communication systems, and especially its web portal, will provide that mechanism.