Closed Fund

Social Enterprise Development Fund 2020

In partnership with:

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

The Social Enterprise Development Fund is a €3.2 million Fund being delivered from 2018 – 2022. The fund was created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund. IPB Insurance is an Irish-owned general insurance company which protects and supports their local authority members and their communities across Ireland.

Clodagh O’Reilly, CEO, Recreate, Minister Seán Canney TD, Department of Rural & Community Development, George Jones, Chairman, IPB Insurance and Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Rethink Ireland at the launch of the Social Enterprise Development Fund 2020.

What is this fund's objective?

The objective of the fund is to find and back social enterprises that add to the social and economic fabric of their community by way of social impact. The fund will provide critical support to the most innovative and impactful social enterprises across Ireland, helping them to:

  • Increase their social impact.
  • Increase their traded income.
  • Create more jobs.
  • Develop long-term, effective and sustainable solutions.

What is a social enterprise?

Social enterprises are organisations whose mission is to have a positive effect on society. They generate revenue through their products or services and reinvest their profits back into their social mission. 

Social enterprises are innovating every day by inventing and developing solutions to Ireland’s most pressing social issues. They are creating jobs, tackling disadvantage and supporting community development.

We believe there is a need to foster and invest in these social enterprises to allow them to grow and spread their solutions throughout the country.

What does the fund offer?

In 2020, the fund offers up to 16 Awardees:

  1. Cash grants 
  2. Places on the Accelerator Programme

The Genesis Programme will provide support to select social enterprises who do not receive a cash grant. The attendees for the programme will be selected across Ireland, ensuring that the Social Enterprise Development Fund offers support to social enterprises in every Local Authority area.

1. Cash grants

In 2020, the fund will support up to 16 social enterprises with cash grants and a place on the Accelerator Programme. 

  • Two social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €50,000 each.
  • Two social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €30,000 each.
  • Two social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €20,000 each.
  • Up to ten social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €10,000 each.

2. The Accelerator Programme

All successful applicants will win a place on Ireland’s only National Accelerator Programme specifically designed for social enterprises. The Accelerator Programme is designed to equip the social enterprises with the tools and techniques to expand their business skills and deepen their impact within their communities and across the country. 

It provides training from best-in-class experts across the private, non-profit and public sector. Training is provided across a range of functions including strategic planning, impact measurement, finance management, governance, business modelling, pitching, storytelling and more. The Accelerator Programme also includes the financing of business and mentoring supports tailored to the needs of each organisation, such as market research, marketing plans and online impact strategies.

“The Accelerator Programme has been a game changer for the Shona Project. It has helped us with the perfect mix of practical and strategic planning so we can make immediate improvements while planning for growth. We have also been welcomed into a network of like-minded people who are on the same journey and the level of support we’ve received from both our fellow participants and the Rethink Ireland team has been invaluable to us. This is a top class programme.”
Tammy Darcy,
Founder, The Shona Project

By joining the programme, organisations will also gain access to a peer network of the best social enterprises in Ireland. A minimum of three winners will come from each of the urban, town and rural categories. 

Chance to get further investment

“Receiving a Social Enterprise Development fund award has been transformational for Meals4Health – the funding and mentorship support have been key to helping us develop from innovative idea to start-up and onwards to growth. The Accelerator Programme has been powerful – an intense 6 months of workshop training, leadership and communication skill building and connection with fellow social innovators, all with the greatest support of Rethink Ireland.  We have taken every opportunity offered to analyse our strengths and goals and to understand what it will take to scale and achieve impact in the community.”
Sharon Fitzpatrick,
Co-Founder, Meals4Health

Further Investment

At the end of the Accelerator Programme, all successful social enterprises will have the opportunity to pitch for a share of an additional €100,000. 

This further investment will be awarded to the social enterprises that demonstrate the greatest potential for future impact and growth. 

“The Social Enterprise Development Fund has been hugely beneficial to Sensational Kids by further strengthening our ability to grow and scale our social impact. The investment has enabled us to add much-needed resources to facilitate our growth. The accelerator programme has proven to be extremely valuable by providing Sensational Kids with additional learning opportunities that will continue to add value to our social enterprise for many years into the future. This combination of investment and participation in the accelerator programme has given us the building blocks to enable us to progress even further with transformational social change.  Being part of a programme that is led by experienced social entrepreneurs who value and understand our journey, has been invaluable.”
Karen Leigh
Founder & CEO
Sensational Kids CLG

The Genesis Programme 

For the first time in 2020, the Social Enterprise Development Fund is launching the ‘Genesis Programme’. The Genesis Programme will provide support to social enterprises who do not receive a cash grant. The attendees for the programme will be selected across Ireland, ensuring that the Social Enterprise Development Fund offers support to social enterprises in every Local Authority area. The Genesis Programme will be an intensive two-day residential workshop that will focus on building the skills and knowledge needed to develop a sustainable social enterprise and be successful in future funding opportunities.

Who can apply?

This fund has closed for applications.

Important dates

Announcing winners

The Social Enterprise Development Fund will inform the successful applicants before the end of September 2020, and the awards announcement will follow. 

The Accelerator Programme

The Accelerator Programme will take place between July and December 2020. During this period the Awardees will be expected to attend workshops, about once per month, and to meet with their consultants or mentors on a regular basis.  

Applying for a share of the €100,000

Towards the end of 2020, the Awardees will be invited to submit a proposal and pitch for a share of the additional €100,000. This further investment will be granted to the social enterprises which demonstrate the greatest potential for future impact and growth. 

The Genesis Programme

The Genesis Programme will take place in September 2020. The dates are to be confirmed. 

Showcase Event

A showcase event will be held in early 2021 to celebrate the impact of the Awardees, mark the end of the Accelerator Programme and announce the winners of the share of the €100,000.

The deadline for applications has now passed. 

Selected applicants will be invited to submit additional information in March 2020

“We’re really enjoying taking part in the Social Enterprise Development Fund Accelerator Programme, the mix of topics is perfect, and the quality of facilitators is top class. This combination is giving us clarity on what we need to do to achieve the impact we aim to deliver.”
James Lyons,
Co-Founder Sailing into Wellness.

Need More Information?

Please contact John Evoy, Fund Manager of the Social Enterprise Development Fund. John’s email is: john@rethinkireland.ie