Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, TD, has announced the launch of the €800,000 Social Enterprise Start-up Fund.
The fund is specifically aimed at early-stage social enterprises with a clear ambition to impact a critical social issue.
Social Enterprise Start-up Fund
It will support social enterprises with small grants to help them expand their businesses and create jobs.
25 social enterprises from across Ireland will receive cash grants of between €9,500 and €12,000. They will also have access to a six-month tailored training programme.
What are social enterprises?
According to the Department of Rural and Community Development, social enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve people’s lives. 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 continuously.
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.”
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, 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.
“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:
“We believe that social enterprises can play a pivotal role in supporting the transition to a more inclusive, sustainable and green economy.”
“We are 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.”