02 Oct 2022

Donegal Local Development Company wants people to take the P.A.S.T.A test

Donegal Local Development Company wants people to take the P.A.S.T.A test

The Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) has come up with a novel idea to raise awareness of social enterprise.

It has just launched its new P.A.S.T.A. Test campaign.

It wants people to take the test to see if their group or organisation meets the criteria to be a social enterprise and therefore avail of the support and opportunities open to them. 

Social enterprise plays a unique role in Irish society and includes a wide variety of organisations. All social enterprises have a social agenda and providing public benefit is at the core of their business model with profits going back into the business.

The P.A.S.T.A. Test, created by the Social Enterprise Team in DLDC, is a fun way to highlight the difference between social enterprise and private businesses with an easy-to-remember acronym - P.A.S.T.A.

P = Purpose, i.e. the organisation must have social good as its primary purpose;

A = Assets, i.e. if the organisation ceases to trade, its assets must be transferred to a similar organisation;

S = Surplus, i.e. any profits are put back into the organisation’s primary purpose;

T = Trading, i.e. unlike charities, a social enterprise generates income by selling products and services;

A = Accountability, i.e. a social enterprise is accountable to key stakeholders

Community and voluntary groups in the county are being  invited to join a series of ‘P.A.S.T.A. Parties’ next month, with guest speaker, Chris Gordon, CEO of Social Enterprise Ireland.

This is an opportunity to learn more about social enterprise in a fun and friendly way. All events are free to attend and, in keeping with the theme, a pasta dish will be provided for lunch. 

Margaret Larkin, Community Development Manager from DLDC said: “Social enterprises are like pasta in that a few core ingredients can create a thousand different possibilities. There are thousands of social enterprises across Ireland. The variety in the sector is a strength but can also cause confusion, even within the social enterprise sector, as to what constitutes a ‘social enterprise’.

She added: “We believe there are organisations across the country that may not realise that they meet the P.A.S.T.A. Test criteria and are therefore missing out on the support and funding opportunities available to them. This campaign encourages groups to log into the website P.A.S.T.A. and find out if they pass the test. We also want the campaign to raise awareness and celebrate the amazing work already being done by social enterprises so any existing social enterprise can take the test and download promotional material to proudly highlight their business delivers a public benefit and has a positive impact on its community.”

Social enterprises in the county are also invited to join a peer focused SEND group run by DLDC. This group of social enterprises meet on a regular basis and share funding expertise, tips, and advice in a fun and friendly way.

The P.A.S.T.A. is funded under the Awareness Raising Initiative for Social Enterprise (ARISE) scheme. The scheme is designed to raise awareness of social enterprises and their positive impact in communities.

To take the P.A.S.T.A. Test or learn more about social enterprises log on to

‘P.A.S.T.A. Parties’ Dates and Locations

September 6 – Bluestack Special Needs Foundation, Donegal Town

September 13 – Coiste Forbartha Cnoc Fola, Gweedore

September 20 – Lifford Old Courthouse, Lifford

September 27 – The Workhouse, Dunfanaghy

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