€800,000 Social Enterprise Start-up Fund is open for innovative projects in Ireland

€800,000 Social Enterprise Start-up Fund is open for innovative projects in Ireland
Business Sustainability
A new support package with grants and training is available for early-stage social enterprises with a clear ambition to address a critical social issue in Ireland.

Minister for Rural and Community Development in Ireland, Heather Humphreys, TD, announced the launch of the €800,000 Social Enterprise Start-up Fund on July 15th 2021.

The purpose of this specific support package is to offer cash and training programmes for social enterprises to realise their potential, expand their businesses and create jobs.

Minister Humphreys said at the launch that the Fund would have a two-year lifespan to provide small grants and other business supports tailored to help early-stage social enterprises overcome challenges when they are starting their projects.

“Twenty-five social enterprises from across Ireland will receive cash grants of between €9,500 and €12,000, as well as access to a six-month tailored training programme.”

“The programme itself comes under the Dormant Accounts Fund in my Department. It will be delivered by Rethink Ireland, who have a great track record in administering supports to social enterprises.”

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland, a national organisation supporting Ireland’s best social innovations through various financial and business supports, welcomed the announcement.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland; Image: Rethink Ireland

''At Rethink Ireland we believe that social enterprises can play a pivotal role in supporting the transition to a more inclusive, sustainable and green economy.

We're delighted to be partnering with the Department of Rural and Community Development to provide much-needed start-up funding and supports as part of today's commitment to the Social Enterprise sector in Ireland,” adds Mortell.

Up to 25 social enterprises will receive cash grants of €9,000 each in 2021, and all successful applicants will win a place on the National Accelerator Programme managed by Rethink Ireland.

The programme will empower the most innovative and impactful start-up social enterprises across Ireland to design a competitive business plan, expand their network, increase financial sustainability and communicate their vision and mission to a broader audience.

Applicants must address a critical social issue with an innovative solution in an Irish context and have the potential and a desire to scale or replicate in Ireland.

Ideally, projects should be beyond the idea phase, presenting some market research, at least a prototype, and a minimum amount of sales activity.

Applications are open from July 15th until August 3rd 2021, to not-for-profit nature organisations based in Ireland.

Applicants are invited to complete a short online application form.

An application webinar clinic is held to support potential applicants with any questions they may have on Tuesday, July 20th, from 11 am to 12 pm.

Awardees will be selected from the shortlist of projects which have met the required criteria.

Rethink Ireland created the Fund in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

According to Rethink Ireland’s research, this type of funding and support is critical to ensuring social enterprises have the best chance of reaching sustainability and maximising impact in their communities.


Headline image: Annie Spratt on Unsplash