Social Enterprises encouraged to apply for €400k in funding

By William O'Connor

Social enterprises based in Dublin are being encouraged to apply for funding through Rethink Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund 2021 which was officially launched last week.

€400,000 in funding is being made available nationwide to social enterprises to help lead the post-Covid economic and social recovery.

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Tom Keane, Head of Marketing, Communications & CSE, IPB Insurance; Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Rethink Ireland and Aoife Hammond, Manager, Dublin Food Co-op and former Social Enterprise Development Fund awardee based in Kilmainham

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, Social enterprises 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.

Commenting, 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.”

Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, said: “We are pleased to be working with Rethink Ireland in their efforts to support social enterprises around the country.

“The Social Enterprise Development Fund continues to complement the on-going support available to social enterprises from local authorities.

"It will help deliver real and meaningful change to each of the organisations involved and to Ireland’s social enterprise sector as a whole.”

Since the Fund’s foundation in 2018, the Fund has supported 40 social enterprises with cash grants and business supports and a 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 2,430 volunteers.

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

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