George Jones, Group Director and Chairman of IPB Insurance; Stephanie Walsh, Business Development Director at Rethink Ireland Picture: Marc O’Sullivan Photography
Rethink Ireland are marking four years of their Social Enterprise Development Fund and have published a report highlighting the impact of the Fund and spotlighting some of the social enterprises supported since 2018, including local group: Willow Traders.
The Social Enterprise Development Fund was created in 2018 by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund to find and back the best social enterprises in Ireland by making cash grants and strategic business support available to Awardees.
Three donkeys found in a severe state are being cared for at Longford's ISPCA National Animal Centre after being found abandoned in a field close to the Sligo-Mayo border.
Nationally, the Social Enterprise Development Fund has supported 112 social enterprises and created 209 jobs. According to Rethink Ireland, a significant achievement of the Fund is the support that has been given to traditionally under-represented communities. The Social Enterprise Development Fund has succeeded in delivering services to over 270,000 people throughout Ireland and mobilised 16,507 volunteers.
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.”
Social Enterprise Funds 2022
Social enterprises based in Longford are being encouraged to apply for funding through the Social Enterprise Development Fund 2022 and the Social Enterprise Start-Up Fund which have officially opened for applications.
Also commenting, Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive of Longford County Council, said: "We’re excited to be working with Rethink Ireland in their effort to support social enterprises around the country. The Social Enterprise Funds, 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. This will deliver real and meaningful change to each of the organisations involved and Ireland’s social enterprise sector as a whole."
George Jones, Group Director and Chairman of IPB Insurance, added: “We are delighted to renew our support for a further two years of the Social Enterprise Development Fund 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 and Social Enterprise Start Up Fund will be open until March 3rd and can be found on Rethink Ireland’s website, www.rethinkireland.ie
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