Social Enterprise Development Fund

26th January 2018

Posted In: FYI

A new €1.6m fund to support social enterprises in Ireland has been established by Social Innovation Ireland (SIFI), in partnership with Local Authorities of Ireland and funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, from the Dormant Accounts Fund and IPB Insurance.

Called the Social Enterprise Development Fund, the fund will be delivered over the course of two years and up to eight successful applicants will each receive a grant of €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. Additional places will be reserved for the most promising social enterprises across all 31 Local Authorities in Ireland. 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.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “Over the past two years Social Innovation Fund Ireland granted €2.475 million in supports to social innovations in education, homelessness, health and positive aging. This is our sixth fund and builds on our past successes in supporting enterprises that are tackling social disadvantage and exclusion.  The Social Enterprise Development Fund will allow successful applicants to grow sustainable enterprises that are rooted in local communities and create solutions for a better Ireland.  We are delighted to partner with the local authorities and their mutual insurance company, IPB, in launching this fund.”

Social enterprises tend to be set in the heart of rural and urban communities. Typically, they provide local services, such as tourism services or social services, and so jobs are created in local communities, providing an important economic impact.  In addition to job creation, social enterprises create significant social impact through service provision in sectors such as childcare, eldercare, home help, recycling, and others.  They play a particularly important role in areas of market failure for social services such as in rural areas.

John Evoy, founder of Men’s Sheds has been appointed the Manager of the Social Enterprise Development Fund by Social Innovation Fund Ireland.  The Fund will be open for applications from January 24th to March 28th, 2018 and the winners will be informed in June 2018.  Further details are available on

Who can apply to the Social Enterprise Development Fund?

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 into achieving their mission
  • Are separate from government or state agencies.