Social Enterprise Dev Fund

The deadline for applications to the 2018 Social Enterprise Development Fund has now passed.

This fund will re-open in early 2019.

As part of the Social Enterprise Development Fund – we are conducting a survey on Social Enterprises on Ireland. We would like your contribution! Click here and complete by Friday 13th of April. 


The Social Enterprise Development Fund is a €1.6 million fund which will be delivered over two years, 2018 – 2020. The fund was created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Department of Rural and Community Development provides match funding for all funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, through the Dormant Accounts Fund. IPB Insurance is an Irish owned general insurance company which protects and supports their local authority members and their communities across the length and breadth of Ireland.


On Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 11 am we held a live webinar with our Social Enterprise Development Manager, John Evoy. This was an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about the Fund or the criteria before putting the final touches on your application. You can view a recording of the webinar on our Youtube channel here

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The objective of the fund is to find and back social enterprises that add to the social and economic fabric of their community by way of social impact. The fund will provide critical support to the most innovative and impactful social enterprises across Ireland, helping them to:

  • Increase their social impact
  • Increase their traded income
  • Create more jobs
  • Develop long-term, effective and sustainable solutions across Ireland


Social enterprises are organisations whose mission is to have a positive effect on society. They generate revenue through their products or services and reinvest their profits back into their social mission.

Social enterprises develop solutions to Ireland’s most pressing social issues by creating jobs, tackling disadvantage and supporting community development.

We believe there is a need to foster and invest in these social enterprises to allow them to grow and spread their solutions throughout the country.


Eight cash grants of €50,000

Up to eight social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €50,000.

At least two grants will be awarded to support the most innovative and impactful projects proposed by social enterprises in each of the following categories

  • Best Social Enterprise Project Urban x 2
  • Best Social Enterprise Project Town x 2
  • Best Social Enterprise Project Rural x 2

Six-month Accelerator Programme

Awardees will also obtain a place on the SIFI Accelerator Programme which is designed to help social enterprises improve their effectiveness. By joining the programme, organisations will gain access to a peer network of the best social enterprises in Ireland.

There will be a number of additional places reserved most promising applicants. 


The applicant must be a social enterprise with a not-for-profit legal form. Social enterprises are defined as organisations that:

  • Have a clear social mission and make a social impact
  • Generate income from goods or services
  • Reinvest any surplus in achieving their mission
  • Are separate from government or state agencies

The Social Enterprise Development Fund will accept applications from:

  • Social enterprises, as defined above
  • Social enterprises which sit within larger not-for-profit organisations, such as charities and voluntary organisations


SIFI aims to assist social enterprises that have developed a specific project that adds to the social and economic fabric of their community by way of social impact. Applicants will be considered against these criteria:

  • The project must already be up and running
  • The project must address a critical social issue
  • The solution proposed must be innovative in an Irish context
  • The project must have potential to scale or replicate in Ireland
  • The project must provide evidence that it is up and running, or has been tested at least minimally
  • The project must be based on the island of Ireland and make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland
  • Applicants must come from an entity that has a not-for-profit legal form.


  • Projects that have a strong track record of social impact
  • Projects that can demonstrate traded income figures with growth potential
  • Projects that can demonstrate how they effectively re-invest surplus into their organisation’s social objectives
  • Projects that have the potential to create additional jobs


Click here to apply

The deadline for applications is 28th March 2018 at 5 pm.

Applicants must be available for interview in Dublin between the 30th of April and 4th May 2018.



How do I upload a video link to my application?

Click here for our short and sweet guide to uploading video.

What is expected of the video?

Click here to watch a sample video that John Smith prepared.

Can you explain what you mean by output (model, impact, testing etc)?

Click here to see our handy one-page glossary of terms, and click here to see examples of how those terms can be applied.

What is expected of Awardees?

Awardees will be expected to participate in a 6-month Accelerator Programme, with a minimum of two days per week devoted to working on your awarded project.

How do you define the urban, town and rural categories?

  • Urban: the 5 largest cities – Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Galway.
  • Town: Any area outside of the 5 largest cities and their surrounds with a population greater than 5,000
  • Rural: Any area in the Republic of Ireland outside of Urban and Town areas as defined above

We are looking for the area where you have the biggest impact.

Can you apply for more than one category? No, if your social enterprise is making an impact in more than one area, e.g. in both town and rural areas then please pick the area where it is making its biggest impact.

Can you make more than one application? Yes, there is nothing stopping your organisation making more than one application for separate projects, however, it is very unlikely that we will fund more than one project from any organisation.

What can cash grants be spent on? The cash grant must be spent on the project which won the award. The specific use of the cash grants will be agreed between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and the Awardee. Cash grants may not be used to pay off debts or purchase vehicles, land or buildings.

Who will decide who wins the awards? The selection process is outlined below. Final decisions are made by the Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

What is the selection process? The selection process follows five stages:

  • Stage 1 – An internal review of the applications to ensure all criteria have been met. Calibrated marking scheme tracks the progress of applicants.
  • Stage 2 – External Screen – Finalists for interviews to be selected following Stage 1 & 2 review.
  • Stage 3 – Interviews – The finalists will be interviewed by an expert panel chosen by Social Innovation Fund Ireland.
  • Stage 4 – Due Diligence – Due diligence will be performed on projects post-interview, this includes site visits and further research on the projects.
  • Stage 5 – Final Decision

How do applicants find out where they are in the selection process? All applicants will be informed by telephone or email after final decisions have been made.

What projects are not eligible?

  • Projects seeking funds for scholarships
  • Projects seeking to fund capital items – buildings, vans, etc.
  • Research projects
  • Party political projects
  • Projects that screen beneficiaries in or out by faith or religious denomination
  • Projects that do not provide a benefit to people or the environment e.g. projects that benefit animals only
  • Projects where the main impact is outside the Republic of Ireland
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started
  • Enterprise Centers
  • Charity Shops

Which applicants are not eligible?

  • Applicants must be over 18 years old
  • Applications must come from an entity that has a not for profit legal form
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland and IPB Insurance staff, Directors and their family members* are excluded from applying

*Immediate family members include sibling, parent, spouse or civil partner or child.


By applying for the Social Enterprise Development Fund, all applicants have agreed to the terms.

  • All applicants warrant that they are over 18 years of age.
  • All applicants warrant that they have engaged fully and truthfully with the application process and will engage fully and truthfully with the selection process. This includes providing full and accurate information, both written and verbal, at all stages of the process.
  • All applicants warrant that they are eligible to apply.
  • All applicants warrant that they have the right to apply. This means that they hold the necessary rights to carry out the project.

Further questions and answers.

Since we opened the call for applications in January we have been asked several questions in relation to the SED Fund and the application process. Click here to see the answers to those questions.

Please contact us at