Programme to provide tailored supports to Start-up Social Enterprises
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, TD, today (Thursday, July 15th) announced the launch of the €800,000 Social Enterprise Start-up Fund.
The Fund will support social enterprises with small grants to help them expand their businesses and create jobs.
It is specifically aimed at early stage social enterprises which have a clear ambition to impact a critical social issue.
Announcing the Social Enterprise Start-up Fund, Minister Humphreys said:
“I am delighted to be in a position today to announce a €800,000 Social Enterprise Start-up Fund to run over two years, the purpose of which is to provide tailored supports to early stage social enterprises, a group that generally has difficulty accessing the more mainstream social enterprise supports.
“Twenty-five social enterprises from across Ireland will receive cash grants of between €9,500 and €12,000, as well as access to a six month tailored training programme.
“This announcement underscores my commitment under the National Social Enterprise Policy to growing and strengthening Social Enterprise right across the country.
“The programme itself comes under the Dormant Accounts Fund in my Department. It will be delivered by Rethink Ireland who have a great track record in administering supports to social enterprises.”
Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland added:
''At Rethink Ireland we believe that social enterprises can play a pivotal role in supporting the transition to a more inclusive, sustainable and green economy.
“We're delighted to be partnering with the Department of Rural and Community Development to provide much-needed start-up funding and supports as part of today's commitment to the Social Enterprise sector in Ireland. Our research continues to show that this type of funding and support is critical to ensuring social enterprises have the best chance of reaching sustainability and maximising impact in their communities.''
Full details of the Social Enterprise Start-up Fund are available at:
Social enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve the lives of people. Their 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 their core social objectives, rather than maximising profit for their owners.
They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, the Traveller community, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.
National Social Enterprise Policy
Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022
National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 was launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the objective of creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to grow and contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.
The Policy is focused on three main objectives:
1. Building Awareness of Social Enterprise
2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise
3. Achieving Better Policy Alignment
Rethink Ireland is a national organisation supporting Ireland’s best social innovations through cash grants and business supports.
They administer the Social Enterprise Development Fund on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development, a fund which will deliver €3.2M in grants and supports to social enterprise between 2018 and 2022.
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:
1. the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged;
2. the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or
3. persons with a disability.
Social Enterprises work in many ways to assist people in these categories.