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Press Release

Minister Ring announces new training and mentoring funding for Social Enterprises

Published: 2 September 2019
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (Monday, 2 September) announced €800,000 in funding for the provision of training and mentoring for social enterprises throughout Ireland. The funding will be provided from the Dormant Accounts Fund and will support one of the key policy commitments in the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland which the Minister published in July.

Expressions of interest for the delivery of training and mentoring to social enterprises are being invited from organisations who have a proven track record in providing these types of supports to meet the needs of social enterprises.

Announcing the call for proposal today, Minister Ring said:

“One of the key messages which my department has consistently heard from social enterprises is that they want more access to training and mentoring to help them strengthen their business model and improve their capacity to deliver a social impact."
“The National Social Enterprise Policy, which I launched last month, includes a commitment to deliver supports to social enterprises in areas such as business planning, mentoring, leadership, governance, capacity building, financial planning and digital innovation."
“I am delighted to be in a position today to announce the allocation of €800,000 from the Dormant Accounts Fund to pilot this training initiative and deliver on the commitment made in the National Social Enterprise Policy. Up to 300 participants are likely to benefit from these supports over the next year.”

The Minister continued:

“Pobal will shortly be inviting Expressions of Interest on behalf of my department for the delivery of training and mentoring from national, regional or local organisations or networks that have a demonstrable track record in the delivery of training and mentoring to social enterprises. Statutory bodies or institutions, including Higher Education Institutions, which have a proven track record in providing direct supports and training to social enterprises, will also be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will be announced before the end of the year.”

Minister Ring concluded:

“The publication and implementation of the National Social Enterprise Policy will assist social enterprises in Ireland to grow and to make a positive impact on individuals and communities in both rural and urban areas."
“Today’s announcement is an important start in the implementation of the Policy. My department will work closely with all stakeholders in the delivery of the full 26 commitments in the Policy over its life span, up to 2022.”

Full details of the pilot Social Enterprise Training and Mentoring scheme will be available on Pobal’s website, www.pobal.ie, shortly.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. Like other businesses, social enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving the core social objectives.

They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, travellers, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.

Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy was launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the objective creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to grow and to contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.

The Policy is focused on three main objectives:

  • creating Awareness of Social Enterprise
  • growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise
  • achieving Better Policy Alignment

Under the Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise objective, one of the key commitments made in the Policy is to “provide tailored training for social enterprises in areas such as business planning, mentoring, leadership, governance, capacity building, financial planning and digital innovation, to help them to improve their business potential as well as leadership and governance skills”. (Policy Measure No. 10)

The Minister’s announcement of an €800,000 fund will support the delivery of this commitment.

Dormant Accounts Fund

The Dormant Accounts Acts 2001-2012, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.

The main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account or policy holders with their funds in credit institutions or insurance undertakings and in this regard, these bodies are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.

However, in order to utilise the un-used funds in dormant accounts and unclaimed policies to best effect, the legislation also introduced a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed from dormant accounts and unclaimed policies for the purposes of measures to assist:

  • the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged
  • the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged;
  • persons with a disability

Social enterprises work in many ways to assist people in these categories.