Published: 9 December 2019
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (Monday 9th December) announced the allocation of €1 million in funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund to 124 social enterprise projects across the country.

The Small Capital Grants Scheme supports a key policy commitment in the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland, which the Minister published in July, to grow and strengthen social enterprises.

Announcing the funding today, Minister Ring said:

“Social Enterprises are providing valuable services and supports in communities across Ireland. To assist them in their work, I announced the Small Capital Grants Scheme in October. We received an overwhelming response to this call for funding, with the scheme heavily over-subscribed.
“Following an assessment of all the applications received, I am pleased to be able to announce the allocation of €1 million to 124 social enterprises around the country. The grants of between €2,000 and €15,000 which are being awarded will help these enterprises to achieve their social, environmental and economic objectives.

The Minister continued:

“This funding is being provided from the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is managed by my Department. Examples of items being supported through the Small Capital Grants scheme include the purchase of new kitchen equipment, computers, training material, and minor refurbishments.
“Unfortunately it was not possible to fund more of the social enterprises that applied this year, given the budget available, but I will review the possibility of making further allocations in 2020. I also intend to make an announcement very shortly on funding for Training and Mentoring for Social Enterprises.”

The Minister concluded by thanking all 49 Local Development Companies who are assisting the Department in the administration of the scheme.

A full list of the successful 124 social enterprises, including the grant amounts awarded, is available here

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Social Enterprises

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 [internal-link undefined | 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:

1. Building Awareness of Social Enterprise

2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise

3. 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:

1. the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged;

2. the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or

3. persons with a disability.

Social enterprises work in many ways to assist people in these categories.

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