Ireland’s social enterprise sector receives significant funding boost

  • New €1.6 million Fund for social enterprises in Ireland announced at Showcase Event
  • The Fund, which originally launched in 2018, now totals €3.2 million, making it the largest private investment in social enterprise to date
  • The Fund aims to create 300 jobs and provide services to 100,000 people over four years
  • The Fund is being delivered by Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Local Authorities Ireland 

16th January 2020:  Today Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development Seán Canney TD welcomed the launch of a new €1.6 million Fund 2020-2021 for social enterprises in Ireland. This commitment is on top of the previous €1.6 million investment 2018-2019, creating a €3.2m investment in total, the most significant private investment in social enterprises to date. 

The Fund was created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland with Local Authorities Ireland and is supported by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The news came as the impact of the 2019 Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees was celebrated at a showcase event in Royal College of Physicians on Thursday. Throughout the last two years, the Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees have generated huge impact by providing services in sectors such as health, employment and the environment, creating 142 jobs, engaging with 274 volunteers and providing services to 35,100 people. 

These include Siel Bleu, Darndale Belcamp Village Centre and Bounce Back Recycling. 

Siel Bleu Ireland offers older adults and people living with chronic disease and physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to counteract physical inactivity through specially designed, professional exercise programmes. Today they work with 6,000 people a week in 20 counties.

Darndale Belcamp Village Center provides a range of services to the local community including childcare, care of the elderly, training, family supports, employment and educational opportunities, cultural, healthcare and retail outlets. On a daily basis the Village Centre provides employment, training and education for 390 people, has a 70% progression rate from community employment, significant achievements in an area with extremely high levels of unemployment and educational disadvantage. Darndale Belcamp Village Center is one of the 5 Awardees to receive further funding from the Final Pitch Fund.

Bounce Back Recycling provides a mattress recycling service in the Connaught/Ulster waste region. Over the last three years they have diverted 25,000 mattresses away from landfill. This has contributed to a greener and more inclusive economy by employing members of the Traveller community. Bounce Back Recycling also received funding following the final pitches which they will use to open their second depot in Sligo.

Details of other Awardees and their impact can be seen here. 

Minister of State for Community Development Natural Resources and Digital Development Seán Canney, T.D said “I’d like to congratulate Social Innovation Fund Ireland and IPB Insurance on the launch the new Social Enterprise Development Fund 2020-2021. I believe that social enterprises can play an important role in addressing social needs, building communities and creating jobs. To that end, I am really pleased to see IPB Insurance take a leadership role in supporting this Fund and to see the Local Authorities of Ireland collaborating with Social Innovation Fund Ireland to provide critical business supports to social enterprises locally to enable them to scale and deepen their impact across Ireland.’’

“This €3.2 million initiative also realises the work being done by the Government to develop the social enterprise sector through the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022.’’

The new Fund will be delivered over the course of two years and up to 16 successful applicants will each receive a grant of between €10,000 and €50,000 to invest in growing their organisation. In addition to the cash grant, the successful applicants will also receive a place on Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s six-month Accelerator programme. The programme is designed to help social enterprises develop their business skills and to provide them with ongoing peer support and advice so that they develop sustainable enterprises that have a powerful impact in their community.

George Jones, Chairman of IPB Insurance said: “We’ve seen many inspiring social enterprises from across the country really flourish with the support of the Social Enterprise Development Fund and we are delighted to continue to support these enterprises through our partnership with Social Innovation Fund Ireland and each and every one of the Local Authorities of Ireland. We are very pleased that we have supported 33 Awardees from 16 counties (or from cities, towns, villages and rural communities across Ireland) to date and we are thrilled to see their achievements and the change they are making in their local communities and beyond.’’

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “We would like to thank IPB Insurance for their support to date and in pioneering a Fund which will create a lasting impact and truly add value to our society. We look forward to our continued partnership with IPB Insurance, the Department of Rural and Community Development, and Local Authorities Ireland to create 300 jobs, and provide services to 100,000 people across the length and breadth of Ireland.’’

Carla Piera FitzGerald, Brand and Communications Manager, Siel Bleu Ireland said: “The funding and support from Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund have allowed us to take our work to the next level. It has helped us overcome some big challenges as we plan to extend our services in the coming years. The Accelerator Programme is a great opportunity for any social enterprises that are thinking of applying in 2020’’.

The 2020 Fund is open for applications from 16th January until the 6th of March 2019.