€1 million fund will support over 100 Social Enterprises throughout the country
Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (Tuesday, 23 Octover) announced a €1 million Small Capital Grants Scheme for social enterprises throughout Ireland.
The scheme, which is funded by the Dormant Accounts Fund, will provide grants of between €2,000 and €15,000 for equipment, repairs or refurbishments which will enable social enterprises to improve their service. The scheme is an initiative under the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2018-2022, which the Minister published in July, and will be administered through the Local Development Companies.
Announcing the scheme, Minister Ring said:
“One of the main objectives of the National Social Enterprise Policy, which I launched in July, is to grow and strengthen social enterprises. The new small capital grants scheme which I am announcing today will support over 100 social enterprises through funding of €1 million from the Dormant Accounts Fund. It will provide grants of between €2,000 and €15,000 to enable social enterprises to make small equipment purchases, or to carry out refurbishments to their premises to help them to improve their service delivery.
“The scheme will be of particular interest to smaller or start-up social enterprises which do not necessarily have the capacity to compete for larger grants.”
The Minister continued:
“I am pleased that the Local Development Companies have agreed to partner with my Department to deliver this scheme. The Local Development Companies provide grassroots support to social enterprises all around the country and are well placed to administer the fund.
“Today’s announcement follows on from a call for proposals for Training and Mentoring of social enterprises which I launched recently, and is another important step in the implementation of the National Social Enterprise Policy.
“My Department will continue to work closely with all stakeholders in the delivery of all of the commitments in the Policy over its life span, up to 2022.”
Full details of the Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprises, including Applications Forms and Guidelines, as well as a list of Local Development Companies and their contact details, are available on the Department’s website,www.gov.ie/drcd.
Special Adviser to Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development
The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office
076-1006843 / 087-1734633
Notes to editors:
Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. Like other businesses, social enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving the core social objectives.
They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, travellers, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.
Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy was launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the objective creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to grow and to contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.
The Policy is focused on three main objectives:
- Building Awareness of Social Enterprise
- Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise
- Achieving Better Policy Alignment
Dormant Accounts Fund
The Dormant Accounts Acts 2001-2012, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.
The main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account or policy holders with their funds in credit institutions or insurance undertakings and in this regard, these bodies are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.
However, in order to utilise the un-used funds in dormant accounts and unclaimed policies to best effect, the legislation also introduced a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed from dormant accounts and unclaimed policies for the purposes of measures to assist:
- the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged;
- the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or
- persons with a disability.
Social enterprises work in many ways to assist people in these categories.