Rethink Ireland is delighted to welcome applications to the sixth year of its trailblazing €4.4m Social Enterprise Development Fund (2018 – 2023) in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.
This Fund focuses on continued seed funding for start-up social enterprises, elevated funding for enterprises at the next stage and offering a business course across all Local Authority regions in Ireland.
Please join us for our application clinics to find out more and answer any questions that you have:
Find out more about the Start a Social Enterprise Business Course here.
The Social Enterprise Development Fund was created in 2018 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 with the aim of finding and backing social enterprises that add to the social and economic fabric of their community by way of social impact.
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:
A social enterprise is a business that works primarily to improve the lives of people. Its business is social good.
Social enterprises are organisations whose mission is to have a positive effect on society. Social Enterprises are at the heart of facing the greatest social challenges in Ireland. They are professional and experienced, and use business skills and clever thinking to bridge the gaps in our society. The money they make from their work is used to grow what they do so that they can reach all the people in society who need their help.
Social enterprises are innovating every day by inventing and developing solutions to Ireland’s most pressing social issues. They are creating meaningful jobs, tackling inequalities 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.
The Social Enterprise Development Fund 2023 provides the opportunity to participate in a Start a Social Enterprise Business Course which will open on February 1st, as well as the chance to receive an award including a cash grant, business supports budget and a place on our Accelerator Programme. The addition of the business course offering ensures that the Fund provides vital supports to a wider number of social enterprises across the sector tailored to their stage of development.
In 2023, the fund offers (up to) 8 Awardees an Awards package of €30,000:
Up to 8 Social Enterprises will receive a package of supports worth a maximum of €30,000 each in total. This will include cash grants of €22,500, paid in two instalments upon delivery of agreed milestones.
Business Support Budget
In addition, Awardees will receive a budget for business supports worth €7,500 each. Business supports will be tailored to the specific needs of each project and carried out by approved consultants, focusing on creating social impact in line with their theory of change and strategic plan.
All successful applicants will win a place on Ireland’s first National Accelerator Programme specifically designed for social enterprises. The Accelerator Programme will equip social enterprises with the skills they need to scale and deepen their social impact.
The intensive and practical six-month programme provides training from best-in-class experts in the private, nonprofit and public sector on key functions such as Strategic Planning, Impact Measurement, Financial Management, Governance, Business Modelling, Pitching, Storytelling and more.
|“Rethink Ireland helped us set out clear indicators for growth across our social,
economic and environmental impact. The marketing support helped to generate leads in almost every county in Ireland. After working with Rethink Ireland our
vision changed from working on a regional level to becoming a national
Martin Ward, Bounce Back Recycling
|“I know we’ll be able to deliver on our ambitious strategic plan because we’ve such a great foundation now in terms of our structure, which was why it was great getting the non-financial support as well the cash. For us the mixture of the two was just perfect and we were delighted with both.”
Helen Nolan, Spraoi agus Spórt
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
*Social enterprises can sit within larger not-for-profit organisations, such as charities and voluntary organisations
Advantageous Criteria (this is not required)
This criteria applies if your project/social enterprise tackles issues related to the environment and green transition such as carbon reduction, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, pollution and/or the just transition.
Stage 1: Applications open from 16th January to 24th February 2023
Applications are open from Monday 16th January until Friday 24th February 2023. At this point, applicants are invited to complete an application form. Based on this initial form, Rethink Ireland will identify a shortlist of applicants who have met the required criteria. These applicants will be invited to an interview.
We will hold the first application clinic on Friday, 3rd February from 1pm to 2pm under this link.
Stage 2: Interviews
Finalists will be invited for an interview which will take place between Monday March 27th and Thursday, 6th April 2023.
What is expected of Awardees?
Awardees will be expected to take part in a six-month Accelerator Programme, with a minimum of two days per week devoted to working on your awarded social enterprise. The business course will be delivered virtually over two months for approximately six mornings (10am-1pm). A half day in person seminar will also be held if allowed under restrictions.
Can you make more than one application?
Yes, there is nothing stopping your organisation making more than one application for separate social enterprises. However, it is very unlikely that we will fund more than one social enterprise from any organisation. Please note that you cannot apply with the same social enterprise for both the business course and a SED cash grant.
What do you mean by innovation?
At Rethink Ireland, we define social innovation as the successful delivery of new approaches to meet social needs more effectively and sustainably than those currently available.
Just as innovation is necessary for economic growth, we believe innovation is critical to societal and economic progress.
What do you mean by income created?
Traded income is that which is generated from the sale of goods and services. It includes contracts (service level agreements) with state bodies or other state/semi-state bodies where clear deliverables are completed in exchange for a fee. It does not include fundraising income, donation income, or cash grants from government / philanthropic organisations.
If your social enterprise is part of a bigger (parent) organisation, you may need to differentiate between the income generated by both entities. This could be done via management accounts for the social enterprise specifically.
What can cash grants be spent on?
The cash grant must be spent on the project that won the award. The specific use of the cash grants will be agreed between Rethink Ireland and the Awardee.
Cash grants may not be used to pay off debts or purchase vehicles, land or buildings.
Who will decide who wins the awards?
Final decisions are made by the Board of Rethink Ireland.
What projects are not eligible?
Who is not eligible to apply?
By applying for the Social Enterprise Development Fund, you agree to the following terms and conditions.
We will run application clinics, providing you with an overview of the application process and what to expect and to give you a chance to ask any questions you may have.
Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com with any unanswered questions you may have.
To apply for a SED Cash grant please complete the application form here