Awarded Fund

Social Enterprise Start-up Fund 2021

Backing social enterprises that are making a positive impact on the social and economic fabric of their community

CanDo - Soap & Skincare, Social Enterprise Start-up Fund 2021 Awardee

The Social Enterprise Start-up Fund is an €800,000 Fund which will be delivered over two years: 2021 – 2022. The Fund was created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

On Friday, 5th November 2021 Rethink Ireland announced the Awardees of the Social Enterprise Start-up Fund. The Fund will support twenty-five social enterprises that are all focused on making a positive impact on the social and economic fabric of their community.


Social Enterprise Start-up Fund Awardees

Buddy Bench

Buddy Bench Ireland strengthens communities by educating primary school children, on positive mental well-being with evidence-led lessons. They have developed an online age-appropriate “Children’s Mental Health Programme” for teachers to gain the skills, design lesson plans, and deliver in the classroom. There are eight modules, Emotional intelligence, Dealing with Anger, Understanding Anxiety, Being Unique, Kindness, Independent Thinking, Resilience, and Fostering Friendship with 100+ downloadable resources. A physical Buddy Bench is placed in the schoolyard and made by the school’s local Men’s Shed.

Cairde Enterprises

Cairde Enterprises makes hand-crafted bespoke furniture and wood products while offering meaningful jobs to those who have come in contact with the criminal justice system, who are turning their lives around, but who often find it difficult to secure employment.

Carers Network Ireland

Carers Network Ireland (CNI) was founded in 2019 by Ronah Corcoran, a Social Care Worker, to address the escalation of mental distress amongst care professionals. It provides wellness programs, products and supports tailored to the social care sector. CNI pivoted its’ service from an in-person wellness solution to a digital one in 2020, due to Covid 19. It is currently developing an online wellbeing platform and app.

CanDo - Soap & Skincare

CanDo Soap & Skincare is a social enterprise programme based in ChildVision, Dublin, tackling the lack of practical training and employment opportunities available to adults with visual impairment and additional disabilities. They make a range of products using only high-quality, 100% natural ingredients.

Connections Arts Centre

Connections Arts Centre provides accessible online, and in-person Arts & Lifestyle programs, where the wider Disability Community can learn, grow and connect through the Arts. All programmes are designed and led based on the needs of the participants and are hosted by experienced facilitators. Their mission is to support and connect the wider Disability Community through the arts and to empower members of the community to develop their skills and share their experiences with others. Their online Gallery and Gift shop champions and supports Artists with Disabilities.


DigitalHQ is a social enterprise that believes in the positive power of digital growth to help people from all backgrounds achieve a better way to live and work. Their training programmes take a place based approach to winning the battle for the hearts and minds of people to self start and use digital growth to take control of their economic destiny for future prosperity. All that’s needed is a smartphone and a commitment to doing what you can with what you’ve got!

Edible Landscape Project

The Edible Landscape Project based in Westport Co Mayo has devised a novel and unique approach to encourage more people to grow and consume food in an environmentally sustainable, climate-smart way. Using a wide range of techniques, from the art of storytelling through podcasts and animated videos, to food forest planting, the Edible Landscape Project aims to mobilise consumers to transform the marketplace to a global, sustainable food system.

Education for Sustainability

Susan Adams founded Education for Sustainability in 2017 as a reflection of the emerging decline of the natural world. It is her mission to ensure that the young people of today are educated about the climate crisis and that they have the knowledge, skills and tools to take action so they can be informed and empowered stakeholders for the future. With a background working and studying at Dublin Zoo, she was inspired to create interactive environmental programmes for schools that focus on improving climate literacy and fostering behavioral change through community action programmes.


Islammiyah Saudique-Kadejo is the CEO of GOCOM Radio; the premier ethnic minority interest and multilingual online community radio in Ireland, based in Galway. The station is a community development social enterprise of Amdalah Africa Foundation – AMDAF, aimed at integrating ethnic minorities and marginalised groups into Irish media. GOCOM Radio ethos is ‘for the community, by the community’. The station is volunteer-powered for the ethnic minorities, community awareness and to inspire understanding on issues that affect them.

hOur Timebank

hOur Timebank advances the welfare of greater community participation and social inclusion. People provide services voluntarily, by giving their “time”. The “time bank” allows members to give and receive “time”, therein every person’s time is equally valued. They provide a hub/exchange for trading “time credits”. No money is exchanged; all services are recognised.  By both giving and receiving – exchanging, they appreciate the value of every member and also experience the benefit of our own contributions. Instead of separating our community into those who need and those who provide, they recognise that we all have needs as well as gifts to share.

Life Connections

Life Connections was founded in 2018, to provide vital services to parents and children to enable them to develop the skills to have healthy conversations about important topics such as relationships, sexuality, the body, feelings and consent. Children are the next generation of adults, and they need support and guidance, so they can grow into the best versions of themselves, and have happy, safe, fulfilling transitions from childhood to young adulthood.

Lough Ree Access For All

Lough Ree Access For All CLG is a start-up small tourism not-for-profit business based on Lough Ree in Ballyleague-Lanesborough, County Roscommon. The company is an award-winning social enterprise and a registered charity that is serving people with disabilities with daily sight-seeing and angling trips on Lough Ree on board a specially designed vessel – licensed by the Department of Transport.

Recruit Refugees Ireland

It is known and often written that employment is the best way to integration. Recruit Refugees Ireland is a social enterprise created by International Community Dynamics CLG, that aims to link job-seeking refugees and International Protection applicants to employers, helping them to find decent work. A specialised website, workshops in various languages for the candidates and advocacy to employers provide a unique approach to the recruitment process of this community in Ireland.


SiSi – a collective of women survivors of intimate abuse, trusting each other, to take a stand. Their vision is an Ireland where women are free from violence, sexual abuse and coercive control.Their mission is to support women out of isolation to become leaders, recognised as experts by experience. They take collective action to inform and influence the policy, legal, social and political reform required to eliminate intimate abuse.

Siul Eile

Siul Eile helps communities come together to form walking programs and challenges using the under-utilised local environment in their own community. It is designed for local communities to live quality healthy lives, socialise together and combat isolation.
So far there have been over 70 innovative walking programs and events organised by Siul Eile facilitating over 40,000 walks.

Sonairte Open Food Network

Sonairte is an environmental charity set up in 1988. Their Vision is to be a community hub, enabling people to live more sustainably to address the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis. Recently Sonairte set up an Open Food Network “Hub” an alternative model which supports small producers, local food and chains, reduced carbon footprint, reduced “food miles”, and local food sovereignty. This project will support them to grow this enterprise.

What Matters Most

What Matters Most CLG Child and Family Support Service was founded in 2020, bringing a personal approach to accessing professional supports for children and families. We specialise in Bereavement Care, Marte Meo Therapy, Family Mentoring and Anamcara Companionship. We deliver strengths-based supports creatively, compassionately and without delay. Childhood is precious, families should not be left waiting, so we provide emergency, out of hours and prompt support responses when needed.

Accelerating Change Together (ACT Studio)

Founded in 2021 Accelerating Change Together (ACT) is a social enterprise of architects, designers and policy specialists who believe that change to a more sustainable, inclusive and inspiring future is not only desirable but necessary. ACT creates digital tools like the SDG Tag Tool to accelerate change as well as design projects like Ballina’s Greenest Town in Ireland that demonstrate change.

An Áit Eile

Cosáin is a peer-led charity, assisting people with mental health challenges in their pathways to recovery through peer support. An Áit Eile is a Solidarity Cooperative of creatives and Experts-by-Experience. Their partnership is based on the transformative potential of lived experience, and their current collaboration, Community Coproduction Network West, aims to empower people to reimagine mental health care.

Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge empowers people with the skills and solutions needed to address some of our most basic needs for a sustainable life: affordable, sustainable housing and greater self-sufficiency at home. They do this through hands-on learning programmes, research and community initiatives focused on areas like building, growing and making. Their founding team have taught 200+ people through their ‘Build School’ since 2020, and in 2022 will expand their reach significantly.

Change 100

Change 100 is the flagship employment Programme of Leonard Cheshire, an international pan-disability charity. The programme provides work placements, professional development and mentoring for talented university students and recent graduates with any disability or long-term condition. They match their candidates with progressive employers for a 100-day summer placement, during which time they support both employer and employee with mentoring and practical assistance to ensure a lasting legacy of disability aware workplaces.

Culture Connect

Culture Connect addresses the difficulties that new communities and the host community experience in working and living together; and providing socio-cultural services that facilitate intercultural communication, mutual understanding, cultural awareness and community cohesion.

Síolta Chroí

Síolta Chroí is a non-for-profit co-operative based in Carrickmacross Monaghan. Their aim is to restore Ireland’s ecosystems and communities. They do this through 1) education focused on regenerative cultures; 2) exploring resilient and regenerative food systems, and 3) carrying out ecosystem restoration work.

The B!G Idea

They believe Creativity is the answer to B!G issues. Our young people have a tough future ahead of them, carrying some of the biggest problems our world has ever faced. They inspire our next generation to take on big challenges with confidence. With support from top creative professionals, students learn cutting-edge methodologies they can use practically on their own local and global projects. With B!G ideas come B!G solutions.

Tralee Intercultural Coffee

Tralee International Resource Centre’s mission is to support and advocate for the
international community in Tralee and the wider area and to facilitate inclusion and
understanding between people. Established in 2010, the charity has a strong interagency
approach and they operate a drop in centre which offers information and advice,
signposting, advocacy support and a warm and safe place to come. A key component of
TIRC’s work is the provision of several free English classes per week, as language is a key
part of integration. Social enterprise is a means for them to provide training and work
experience opportunities to their service users, as well as further their inclusion mission.