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Social Enterprise Development Fund 2021 – Open for Applications

Social Enterprises called on to apply to €400,000 fund to address Ireland’s greatest social

  • The Social Enterprise Development is a €3.2 Million Fund running from 2018-2022
  • €400,000 in cash grants will be made available as well as additional business supports
  • Rethink Ireland CEO calls social enterprises ‘critical’ to a just social and economic recovery from Covid-19 pandemic

€400,000 in funding is being made available to social enterprises to help lead the post-Covid economic and social recovery through Rethink Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund 2021 which was officially launched today (21.01.2021). The objective of the fund is to find and back the best social enterprises in Ireland by making cash grants and strategic business support available to Awardees.

Social enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve the lives of people. Their core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. Like other businesses, Sociale nterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However,surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving their core social objectives.

The Social Enterprise Development Fund was created by Rethink Ireland in 2018 in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.
Since the Fund’s foundation in 2018, the Fund has supported 40 social enterprises with cash grants and business supports and further 38 through their Genesis & Accelerator Programmes. It has enabled social enterprises to support 681 people to access employment, (the majority of whom are from minority groups) and mobilise 2430 volunteers. Previous social enterprises include:

1. Turn2me: Turn2me provides a safe, anonymous and confidential space to anyone aged 12 plus in Ireland seeking support with their mental health and well-being 24/7.
2. CyberSafeIreland: CyberSafeIreland empowers children, parents and teachers to navigate the online world safely and responsibly.
3. Grow Remote: Grow Remote’s mission to enable people to work, live and participate locally by making remote employment both visible and accessible in their communities.

Commenting today, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, said: “The Social Enterprise Development Fund plays an important role in supporting social enterprises who are making a positive difference to their communities. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all been reminded of the importance of strong communities. The Social Enterprise Development Fund 2021 will help to grow Ireland’s strong and vibrant social enterprise sector.”

CEO of Rethink Ireland Deirdre Mortell, said: “Rethink Ireland is delighted to open applications for the Social Enterprise Development Fund for 2021. Social enterprises are at the heart of addressing Ireland’s greatest social challenges and strengthening communities. We believe they are playing a vital role in this pandemic and will play an even more critical role as we recover from the crisis.”

“Social enterprises employ people who would typically be considered far from the labour market, produce ethical and sustainable products and / or provide vital local services at more affordable rates than the private sector. They can and will contribute to a just economic, social and sustainable recovery and we are calling on social enterprises across Ireland to apply to our fund.”

George Jones, Chairman & Group Non Executive Director IPB Insurance said, ‘We are delighted to support Rethink Ireland and our Local Authority Members for the fourth year of the combined €3.2m Social Enterprise Development Fund. This initiative aims to provide critical support to the very best social enterprises across Ireland. Last year we were thrilled to support a social enterprise in every local authority area in the country for the first time and we are again encouraging social enterprises in every
county to apply to this year’s Fund’.

The 2021 Fund will be open for applications from 21st January until the 5th of March 2021. Further details are available on


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