Open Call for Applications to Social Enterprise Development Fund

22nd January 2023

Posted In: The Topic

Rethink Ireland, the organisation supporting the most innovative non-profit organisations working in Irish communities across the country, is celebrating the positive impact of social enterprises who are transforming Ireland under the Social Enterprise Development (SED) Fund, making an open call for applications to the 2023 Fund. Now in its sixth year, the Fund will focus on start-up and next stage social enterprises, as well as the continuation of a business course across every Local Authority region in Ireland.

The €4.4 million Fund, created in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund, opened for applications last Tuesday at Rethink Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund Showcase, marking five years of the Fund. The incredible impact achieved to date under the Fund is set to accelerate change into 2023 with new opportunities for social enterprises to solve critical issues, and improve the lives of people and communities.

Rethink Ireland supports social enterprises that are focused on critical social change. Social enterprises can lead the transition to a more inclusive, sustainable and green economy. Any profit made by a social enterprise is reinvested back into the organisation’s social or environmental mission, allowing it to maximise impact.

Impact of the €4.4m Social Enterprise Development Fund Since 2018:

  • The Fund has supported 110 social enterprises through cash grants and non-financial supports
  • Awardees delivered services to over 400,000 people throughout Ireland
  • Awardees mobilised 16,600 volunteers
  • In 2022, the Social Enterprise Business Course supported 100 social entrepreneurs at idea stage to join a six-week course equipping them to set up their social enterprise.
  • Over 209 jobs have been created within the sector (Updated January 2022)

Some of the achievements made by 2022 social enterprise Awardees of the Fund include a mentor-based supported employment program from Way to Work to assist young people aged 16 to 21 who have been in care; the creation of a Ukrainian language website by the Together for Razem Centre to provide real time information to reach 100,000 Ukrainian refugees; tripling of vital services to those with varying levels of disability for post-care support after being discharged from the HSE, through the No Barriers Foundation; and the provision of practical, moral and social support to Asylum Seekers, Refugees and other Migrants through KASI, a local NGO based in Killarney, helping more than 1,000 refugees in the County.

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD commented: “Since the announcement last year of a further €1.2 million investment into the Social Enterprise Development Fund for 2022 and 2023, I am delighted to see the great progress made by true innovators in our local communities around Ireland. Social enterprises supported through the Fund have made a significant impact over the past five years to address the needs of communities. The Government continues to prioritise social enterprises and the key role they play in society.”

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Rethink Ireland (pictured) said: “Our Social Enterprise Development Fund has had a transformative impact in local communities across Ireland over the past five years. This hard won impact highlights the opportunity to do more, and we are thrilled to announce the opening of the fund for applications again.”

“Ireland is lagging behind Europe in backing social enterprises and one of our goals at Rethink Ireland is to harness the potential of these enterprises as innovators, employers and service providers in communities.”

She added: “We are pleased to celebrate our partnership with IPB Insurance, Local Authorities Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), the success of which, crucially, is evident in the positive impact of the Fund on communities in Ireland.”

Applications for the 2023 Social Enterprise Development Fund will be open until February 24th and can be found on Rethink Ireland’s website,