‘Re-thinking Ireland; social enterprises with the potential to change communities across the country’

€400,000 awarded by Rethink Ireland to 40 social enterprises.

A contemporary alternative to grinds, a social business employing ex-offenders, and a zero-waste organic food co-op are just three of 40 social enterprises to be awarded over €400,000 by Rethink Ireland today. 

Today Rethink Ireland announces the 40 Awardees of their Social Enterprise Development Fund; 16 enterprises will receive cash grants and business support, and a further 24 enterprises will receive strategic support to help expand their impact through a ‘Genesis Programme’. 

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.

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, said: “Today’s recipients of funding and support from Rethink Ireland are doing vital work in their communities to promote social and economic wellbeing, and I wish to congratulate them on their achievements. Now, more than ever, we need innovative leaders to re-think the way we live and work at an individual, local and national level to create a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable society for everyone. These Awardees are excellent examples of the importance of social enterprises to Irish society and the economy.” 

CEO of Rethink Ireland Deirdre Mortell, said: “Social enterprises are part of the fabric of communities across Ireland, using business skills and clever thinking to drive their mission supporting people and planet. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have all been reminded about the critical value of strong community. Therefore, the role Rethink Ireland and Local Authorities play in promoting community and social enterprise is now even more important. I would like to congratulate this year’s highly impressive and diverse range of Awardees.”

Amongst the Social Enterprise Development Fund 2020 Awardees are:

  • The Dublin Food Co-Op: The Dublin Food Co-op is a not-for-profit organisation that addresses the lack of accessible, affordable education on food sustainability and how co-operatives can be organised to sustain their local communities. Operating out of a shop in Kilmainham, it has almost 3,000 members and has created a co-operative environment in which to learn and share together.
  • jumpAgrade: jumpAgrade is making personalised teaching accessible to all students, addressing the growing educational inequality accelerated by the “grinds culture” in Ireland.Its online platform and research-backed methods enable them to support second-level students from less fortunate backgrounds and underrepresented groups, those who would not have been able to access exam preparation and coaching from qualified, expert teachers before.
  • EPIC (Enhancing Progress Inspiring Change): EPIC (Enhancing Progress Inspiring Change) is a social business project in Wexford that provides employment for people who want to reclaim their lives after problems with addiction and/or past criminality. The business produces printed promotional materials such as t-shirts, mugs, folders, pens and conference materials, with any profits reinvested into the enterprise.
  • Together Razem: Together Razem Centre supports those in the Polish and Eastern European migrant community facing problems related to marginalisation, exclusion and isolation in Ireland. The centre offers advocacy, social and legal advice, mental health support and educational programmes for children and adults, enabling the Polish community to be a more cohesive part of the Irish community.

Speaking on the ongoing partnership, George Jones, Chairman of IPB Insurance, commented “Supporting communities to achieve resilient and sustainable solutions to the problems they face has been part of our company’s DNA since our founding. That’s why we believe so strongly in the investment we are making through this fund, when you invest in a social enterprise you know that it’s a sustainable investment that will be used wisely to reach all those in society who need their help.”

Deirdre Mortell added: “I look forward to seeing the Awardees continue to make a positive social impact.  The calibre of the Awardees is reflective of the strong social enterprise spirit that exists in Ireland. I would like to thank all our partners in creating this fund who enable Rethink Ireland to provide our financial and strategic support to enterprises delivering positive social change. I would encourage more enterprises to apply for the fund next year.”

For more information visit: https://rethinkireland.ie/current_fund/social-enterprise-development-fund-2020/