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Social Enterprise on the Rise: Power, Potential, Possibility.

Social Enterprise Development Fund Showcase Event highlights the incredible work of Ireland’s most innovative social enterprises.

January 17th 2019: The power, potential and possibility of social enterprise in Ireland was on full display at the Social Enterprise Development Fund Showcase Event in Dublin. Some of the highlights included Sailing in Wellness who have positively impacted the lives of 118 recovery clients through sailing and Sensational Kids who have delivered over 100 speech and language, occupational and play therapy appointments alone in their first 6 weeks.


The €1.6M Social Enterprise Development Fund was set up last year by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, and Local Authorities Ireland and over two years, will provide funding and supports to social enterprises from across the country. The fund is financed by the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts and IPB Insurance.


The eight social enterprises who received funding in 2018 showcased just how much impact this fund has had on their inspiring projects. These enterprises are proactively tackling some of the biggest social issues facing Irish society including homelessness, mental health, social inclusion and obesity.  Each social enterprise has expanded their impact as a direct result of the funding from the Social Enterprise Development Fund and participation in Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Accelerator programme.


Here are some highlights from the social enterprises who took part in the first year of the Social Enterprise Development Fund:










Seán Canney, T.D, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, said: “The achievements of each of today’s awardees are truly inspiring and an example of the power, potential and possibility of social enterprise to have a significant social and economic impact.


“Projects like MyMind who are offering affordable online counselling sessions and O’Cualann Co-housing Alliance who are creating affordable housing are great examples of what social enterprises are capable of.  The Government is committed to supporting social enterprises as we recognise the role they can play in addressing social needs, building communities and creating jobs. To this end, the Department is looking forward to publishing the first national social enterprise policy for Ireland later this year.”


Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “It’s fantastic to see just how far each of our Awardees have come in such a short space of them and the impact they’re having on their communities through their incredible work. Imagine a social enterprise employing 4 or 5 people in every one of the 1,000 towns and villages in Ireland – small changes create viable sustainable communities. With this in mind, we’re looking forward to working with a new group of social enterprises in 2019. I’d also like to thank IPB Insurance and each of the Local Authorities for their support over the past number of months.”


George Jones, Chairman of IPB Insurance said: “This evening’s showcase is proof positive of the power of social enterprise to make a real and meaningful impact to individuals, groups and communities across Ireland. We are delighted to support Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Ireland’s local authorities assist their local social enterprises achieve their social mission. This event acts to illustrate to the huge impact of their work and the power of social enterprise in Ireland.”


Sharon Fitzpatrick, Co-Founder of Meals4Health said: “Receiving a Social Enterprise Development Award has been transformational for Meals4Health – the funding and mentorship have been key to helping us develop from innovative idea to start-up and onwards to growth. The Accelerator programme has been powerful – an intense 6 months of workshop training, honing leadership and communication skills, and building valuable connections with fellow social enterprises. We have grabbed every opportunity with both hands to put the building blocks for growth in place in order to reach every community in Ireland.”


The Social Enterprise Development Fund 2019 is still open for applications from social enterprises until 25th January 2019. Further details are available on www.socialinnovation.ie