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Donegal's social enterprise sector receives significant funding boost

New €1.6 million Fund for social enterprises announced

Donegal's social enterprise sector receives significant funding boost

Joan Ellison, project and office manager, We Make Good, a Social Enterprise Development Fund 2019 Awardee and Deirdre Mortell, chief executive of Social Innovation Fund Ireland at the launch

Chief executive of Donegal County Council, Seamnus Neely has welcomes the launch of a new €1.6 million Fund 2020-2021 for social enterprises in Ireland. This commitment is on top of the previous €1.6 million investment 2018-2019, creating a €3.2m investment in total, the most significant private investment in social enterprises to date.

The Fund was created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland with Local Authorities Ireland and is supported by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The news came as the impact of the 2019 Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees was celebrated at a showcase event in Royal College of Physicians on Thursday.

Donegal-based Spraoi agus Spórt also honoured at showcase event. Throughout the last two years, the Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees have generated huge impact by providing services in sectors such as health, employment and the environment, creating 142 jobs, engaging with 274 volunteers and providing services to 35,100 people.

Minister of State for Community Development Natural Resources and Digital Development Seán Canney, TD said he believed that social enterprises could play an important role in addressing social needs, building communities and creating jobs.

"To that end, I am really pleased to see IPB Insurance take a leadership role in supporting this Fund and to see the Local Authorities of Ireland collaborating with Social Innovation Fund Ireland to provide critical business supports to social enterprises locally to enable them to scale and deepen their impact across Ireland.’’

“This €3.2 million initiative also realises the work being done by the Government to develop the social enterprise sector through the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022,’ he said.

The new Fund will be delivered over the course of two years and up to 16 successful applicants will each receive a grant of between €10,000 and €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. 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.

Mr Neely said they were excited to be working with Social Innovation Fund Ireland in their effort to support social enterprises around the country.

"The extension of the Social Enterprise Development Fund, which will continue to compliment the on-going support available to social enterprises from local authorities across the country, will surely help deliver real and meaningful change to each of the organisations involved and Ireland’s social enterprise sector as a whole,” he said.

The 2020 Fund will be opened for applications yesterday, Thursday, January 16 and it will run until until March 6. Further details are available on

What is a social enterprise?

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 their impact and for their solutions to be replicated throughout the country.

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.

About Social Innovation Fund Ireland

Social Innovation Fund Ireland is a national organisation supporting Ireland’s best social innovations through cash grants and business supports. Our purpose is to make Ireland a better more inclusive place through social innovation. Every euro we raise in philanthropy is matched by a euro from the Irish Government (from the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts Fund). We partner with corporates, SME’s, families and individuals who want new, tangible and real-world ways to tackle some of the pressing issues facing our country today

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