The Entrepreneurship Impact Fund 2023-2026 is a three year fund, through the support of a private donor, which aims to have impact across three strands:
This open call covers Strand 1, worth a total of €3,000,000, and is open for applications via the online portal from the 16th of November 2023 to 11th January 2024 at 1.00pm. The open-calls for strands 2 & 3 are expected to be announced in 2024.
The Entrepreneurship Impact Fund – Strand 1 aims to support mid-stage and mature social innovations to achieve higher levels of impact by scaling their innovations and reaching the next stage of growth.
Ireland faces continuing critical social issues across health, education, equality, and the green sectors. One of the key problems confronting social innovations is the difficulty of scaling their operations and social impact. Insufficient funding in terms of both scale and duration to align with their aspirations, as well as a shortage of suitable capacity-building supports are key main barriers.
The Entrepreneurship Impact Fund’s Strand 1 will address the challenge of scaling and reaching growth by providing multi-year funding and targeted support in the areas of scaling, investment and procurement readiness, organisational resilience, leadership, impact measurement, and financial sustainability.
This strand has two investment areas: the Growth Fund and the Scale Up Fund.
The Growth Fund
The Impact Goal of the Growth Fund is to enable mature social innovations and social enterprises to:
The Growth Fund will support up to three awardees for three years and provide an annual cash grant ranging from €160,000 to €200,000 as well as capacity building supports*.
The Scale Up Fund
The Impact Goal of the Scale Up Fund is to enable mid-stage social innovations and social enterprises to:
The Scale Up Fund will support up to four awardees for three years and provide an annual cash grant ranging from €40,000 to €60,000 as well as capacity building support*. This Fund will focus on scaling mid-stage social innovations and social enterprises that have proof of impact, but require additional support to reach the next stage of growth.
Capacity building supports include:
* The Rethink Ireland Board will decide how much money to award, which may be less than the amount requested. The final amount of the award will depend on how many organisations are selected.
You can apply to the Entrepreneurship Impact Fund – Strand 1 via the online portal from the 16th of November 2023 to 11th January 2024 at 1.00pm.
Please join us for our application clinics to find out more and answer any questions that you may have:
This fund is open to organisations that have a not-for-profit legal form, e.g. charity, social enterprise and other voluntary organisations that meet the following criteria:
Eligibility & Criteria
Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for the Entrepreneurship Impact Fund, as set out below:
Rethink Ireland Criteria
Entrepreneurship Impact Fund – Strand 1 Core Criteria
The criteria that applicants for the Growth Fund will need to demonstrate are:
The criteria that applicants for the Scale Up Fund will need to demonstrate are:
The criteria below will be considered advantageous in applications, however, organisations that meet the core criteria but do not meet the advantageous criteria are encouraged to apply. Projects applying to either the Growth Fund or Scale Up Fund incorporating any of the below in their application will have an advantage:
Projects applying to the Scale Up Fund will have an advantage if they can demonstrate:
Which projects cannot apply?
Projects that are not eligible to apply are:
Which applicants cannot apply?
Applicants that are not eligible to apply are:
If my organisation has previously been in receipt of an award from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?
Yes. If you have previously been funded by Rethink Ireland, you can still apply but if you have already participated in a Growth Fund, you are not eligible for this Fund. Previous awardees must be able to demonstrate they have performed well on a previous programme and capture in the application form how the new funding being applied for is a logical continuation from the original investment, fitting the new Fund criteria in particular.
If my organisation/project is currently in receipt of an award from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?
Projects on one of our Funds that have cash grant payments remaining before the commencement of the new fund programme are not eligible to apply.
Organisations on one of our Funds that have cash grant payments remaining before the commencement of the new fund programme are still eligible to apply with a different project and different project lead.
Is this just for large-scale, national organisations?
No, it is not, we welcome applications from mid-stage and mature social innovations and social enterprises that have a not-for-profit legal form (see criteria above).
Can I apply for this funding even though I am still on the ideation stage?
Unfortunately no, this fund is specifically for mid-sized and mature organisations that are up and running with a proven track record.
Can organisations make multiple applications?
Yes, there is nothing stopping your organisation from making more than one application for separate projects. However, due to the competitive nature of this Fund and its selection process, it is very unlikely that we will fund more than one project from any organisation. We encourage organisations to submit one strong application rather than multiple applications.
If my organisation is funded by a Government/state agency (HSE, TULSA etc) are we eligible?
Yes, you can apply if you are in receipt of funding from a government or state agency. However, if your organisation is 100% funded through state sources then you are not eligible to apply to the Fund.
Is it possible for organisations to collaborate in an application (e.g. a community development organisation and an educational provider)?
They can and one organisation should take the lead. Please refer to the eligibility criteria to ensure that your project is eligible for funding.
Strand 1 will support a total of up to 7 awardees across the following Funds:
Growth Fund – up to three awardees for three years. Annual cash grant ranging from €160,000 to €200,000.
Scale Up Fund – up to four awardees for three years. Annual cash grant ranging from €40,000 to €60,000.
Both funds will also provide:
Rethink Ireland’s Accelerator is a unique offer, equipping awardees with the skills needed to expand and deepen their impact. It provides training from best-in-class experts across the private, nonprofit and public sector. Training is provided across a range of functions and may include:
What can cash grants be spent on?
The cash grant must be spent on the project that won the award and must be ring-fenced for work you are undertaking. The specific use of the cash grant will be agreed between Rethink Ireland and the Awardee.
The funding may be used to cover operations/staff costs but you must be able to demonstrate in your application how this is facilitating you to run the project that you are applying for. Cash grants may not be used to pay off debts or for capital items such as renovations, or for vehicles, land, buildings or large equipment.
What non-financial supports will be provided to successful applicants?
Rethink Ireland’s non-financial supports have been called our ‘secret sauce’ that help projects to really develop their capacity and sustainability, in addition to the benefit of the cash supports. Non-financial supports will include:
What is expected of Awardees?
The project lead will be expected to take part in the Accelerator Programme, which includes attending approximately 6 workshops per year and spending time working 1:1 with a business/strategy consultant.
Applications are made via our funding portal. The application form asks you for information about:
What kind of video do we need to submit? (Optional)
Don’t worry – you don’t need to produce a high quality or expensive video. You can use a smartphone or tablet. We just want to hear you telling the story of your project in 2 – 3 mins max. Please tell us:
You can then upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and password protect it if you wish. You can insert the URL link and the password in the application form.
What financial information do we need to submit with our application?
How do we upload our project budget (planned income and expenditure)?
In the relevant section of the application form you will be provided with a link to a budget template in excel. Please click on the link provided and DOWNLOAD this document to your computer. Then fill in your financial information and save the document with your project’s name and then upload it in the relevant section of the application form.
We have tried to make the application process as accessible as possible but we understand that there may still be some difficulties for applicants. If you have access needs or are struggling with the application form, please contact email@example.com
What happens after we submit our application?
How does the selection process work?
The selection process is very rigorous and consists of a number of stages:
Who will decide who wins the awards?
All applications will be reviewed thoroughly through a rigorous process. The Board of Rethink Ireland will make the final decision on successful applicants and the number and value of the final awards given.
How do applicants find out where they are in the selection process?
We will contact all applicants by email to let them know whether or not they have been shortlisted and invited to interview. Interviews will be conducted via online video link. When final decisions have been made on the successful applicants, we will contact all shortlisted applicants by phone or email to let them know whether they have been successful.
By applying for the Entrepreneurship Impact Fund, you agree to the following terms and conditions.
If you have further questions, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org