209 jobs have been created through Rethink Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund since 2018 which was created in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and supported by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund. The figure was announced at Rethink Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund Showcase, marking four years of the fund.
Impact of the €3.2 Social Enterprise Development Fund
At the event, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, announced a further €1.2 million investment into the fund over the next two years. “The Social Enterprise Development Fund has been hugely successful over the past four years, highlighting the strength of the creativity and the can-do attitude of communities and innovators in every community in Ireland. A key priority of the Government is to grow and strengthen social enterprises, and I’m delighted to announce a further €1.2 million investment into the fund over the next two years with the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund supported by IPB Insurance and Local Authorities Ireland .”
This new Fund which will focus on continued seed funding for start-up social enterprises will strengthen its focus on providing vital supports to early-stage social enterprises with the development of a new business course and a clear pathway for social enterprises looking to build their businesses.
Success stories since 2018
As part of the showcase event, Rethink Ireland published a report highlighting the impact of the fund and spotlighting some of the social enterprises supported since 2018, including:
According to Rethink Ireland, a significant achievement of the Fund is the support that has been given to traditionally under-represented communities. Speaking at the Social Enterprise Development Fund Showcase, Stephanie Walsh, Business Development Director at Rethink Ireland, said: “Over the past four years, we have supported social enterprises throughout Ireland to provide responses to urgent social issues, while working closely with local communities. These social enterprises work to promote access to employment, delivering training and giving a voice to those not often heard in society; creating local solutions to the global climate crisis; and providing bespoke, holistic services to our most vulnerable in society.
Commenting further, Ms. Walsh said: “According to research (Borzaga, C. et al. (2020)), the social enterprise sector in Ireland employs 25,000 to 33,000 people in over 1,400 enterprises, with a total annual turnover of around €1.4 billion. If the growth of the sector in Ireland continues to be in line with the European Union’s projections, the number of jobs in the sector would double and the social impact would be felt across all communities. Social enterprises are central to Ireland’s recovery as we continue to live through the Covid-19 crisis. Over the next number of years, we want to measure Ireland’s economic success based on the equality we achieve, the physical and mental health of our people and the state of our environment. Social enterprises will continue to play an important role in this agenda, restoring heart and hope to new economic thinking.”
The Social Enterprise Development Fund is supported by IPB Insurance, Local Authorities Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Also speaking at the showcase was George Jones, Group Director and Chairman of IPB Insurance, who said: “We are delighted to renew our support for a further two years with Rethink Ireland and the Department of Rural & Community Development in partnership with our local authority members. Working alongside our local authority Members, our collaboration with Rethink Ireland and the Department has focused on identifying and supporting the best social enterprises nationwide with the added benefit of promoting the sector as an important contributor to Ireland’s socio-economic development. I think the need for Social Enterprises has been highlighted more than ever by the pandemic and global conversations around sustainability. Social enterprises are motivated by seeing a social need and setting out to meet that need in a sustainable manner.”
Applications for the 2022 Social Enterprise Development Fund will be open until March 3rd and can be found on Rethink Ireland’s website, www.rethinkireland.ie