2021 Social Enterprise Development Fund: open until March 5th

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The 2021 Social Enterprise Development Fund is now open for applications.

The closing date is March 5th 2021.

Further information is available at:






The objective of the fund is to find and back social enterprises that add to the social and economic fabric of their community by way of social impact.

The fund will provide critical support to the most innovative and impactful social enterprises across Ireland, helping them to:

● Increase their social impact
● Increase their traded income
● Create more jobs
● Develop long-term, effective and sustainable solutions.


We invite applications from social enterprises that:

● Have a clear social mission that addresses a critical social issue
● Generate income from goods or services
● Are already up and running
● Reinvest any surplus into achieving their mission
● Have a not-for-profit legal form, e.g. companies limited guarantee
● Are separate from the Government and state agencies
● Have their main impact in the Republic of Ireland
● Have not already completed a multi-year fund with Rethink Ireland.


Key criteria

The key criteria that applicants will need to demonstrate are:

● How does the social enterprise impact a critical social issue
● How the social enterprise is (or has the potential to be) a sustainable business generating traded income from goods or services

Advantageous criteria

The applications will also be assessed on how well they demonstrate that the social enterprise :

● Is innovative in an Irish context
● Has the potential to scale or replicate in Ireland
● Has the potential to create additional jobs

Other criteria

The Social Enterprise Development Fund will accept applications from:

● Social enterprises, as defined above
● Social enterprises that sit within larger not-for-profit organisations, such as charities and voluntary organisations



Stage 1: Applications open from 21 January to 5 March 2020

Applications are open from Thursday 21 January until Friday 5 March 2021 at 5.00pm. At this point, applicants are invited to complete a short application form. Based on this initial form, Rethink Ireland will identify a shortlist of applicants who have met the required criteria.

Stage 2: Selected applicants invited to submit second stage application by 1 April 2021

Selected applicants will be invited to complete a more detailed application form. The deadline for receipt of applications for this second stage is Thursday 1 April 2021.
Following the stage 2 application, shortlisted applicants will be invited for interviews.




In 2021, the fund offers (up to) 16 Awardees:

1. Cash grants
2. Places on the Accelerator Programme

For the second time, we are also going to offer the best social enterprise in each Local Authority where no social enterprise won a cash grant a place on our Genesis

1. Cash grants

In 2021, the fund will support up to 16 social enterprises with cash grants:

● Two social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €50,000 each
● Two social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €30,000 each
● Two social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €20,000 each
● Up to ten social enterprises will receive a cash grant of €10,000 each.

2. The Accelerator Programme

All successful applicants will win a place on Ireland’s only National Accelerator Programme specifically designed for social enterprises. The Accelerator Programme is
designed to equip the social enterprises with the tools and techniques to expand their business skills and deepen their impact within their communities and across the

It provides training from best-in-class experts across the private, nonprofit and public sector. Training is provided across a range of functions including impact measurement and management, financial management, stakeholder discovery, business modelling, pitching, storytelling and more. The Accelerator Programme also includes business supports tailored to the needs of each organisation such as theory of change, strategic planning and implementation and market research.

By joining the programme, organisations will also gain access to a peer network of the best social enterprises in Ireland.

A minimum of three winners will come from each of the urban, town and rural categories.

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