9TH JUNE, 2020

What Is The Social Enterprise Development Fund?

Social enterprise is as important now as it ever was. As the world struggles with issues including climate change, violence, poverty and of course COVID-19, social entrepreneurship is stepping up in finding new solutions going forward.

In recognition of the valuable contribution social enterprises make to society as well as the wider economy, the Social Enterprise Development Fund was set up to encourage social entrepreneurship in the Republic of Ireland.

The fund’s objectives

The Social Enterprise Development Fund is a €3.2 million pot of money which is being delivered over four years from 2018 to 2022. It works by offering a cash grant to social enterprises that meet the criteria.

The fund’s objective is to locate and support social enterprises whose positive social impact extends across peoples’ daily lives and also the economy. It provides essential support to the most innovative social enterprises in the country, helping them to:

  • Increase their trading income
  • Develop long-term, sustainable and effective solutions
  • Create more jobs
  • Have an even greater social impact

Devised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) in collaboration with Local Authorities Ireland, the Social Enterprise Development Fund is backed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and IPB Insurance.

What is a 'social enterprise' in this context?

Social enterprises are organisations that are designed and operated with the sole purpose of making society better in some way. They work to improve peoples’ lives, whilst also strengthening the local economy through employment opportunities. Any money that’s made through the selling of their products and/or services is also reinvested back into their social mission.

Social enterprises are also very innovative by their nature, working to solve Ireland’s most disruptive social issues. They support community development, infrastructure and tackle deprivation. This is what makes them so important, and why fostering a culture that invests in social enterprise is the key to Ireland’s success.

Accelerator Programme

All applicants that successfully secure a grant will gain a place on Ireland’s National Accelerator Programme designed specifically for social enterprises. The Accelerator Programme is designed to give social enterprises the skills, confidence and tools to grow their business and to make a robust impact in their communities.

Application stages

The Social Enterprise Development Fund opens once a year and consists of two stages:

Stage 1

Applications open roughly around the middle of November and run until the middle of January. During this stage, applicants will need to complete a short application form. Once all the forms have been sifted through, Social Innovation Fund Ireland will create a shortlist of applicants who will then be asked for some further information.

Stage 2

Applicants that are on the shortlist will now need to make a more detailed application as part of stage 2. The deadline for this usually falls around the end of February. After this, winners will be revealed.

When does the Social Enterprise Development Fund open again?

No dates have been confirmed as yet, although they’re expected to be very similar to this year with applications opening in November time. Watch this space!

What other supports are available for SMEs specifically in Ireland?

The COVID-19 outbreak has meant that many small and medium sized enterprises are looking for ways to urgently boost their cash flow. The Irish government has unveiled a package of temporary measures in the wake of the coronavirus crisis to offer businesses a financial lifeline. However, there are a number of longer term supports also available, both to social enterprise SMEs and other organisations as well.

For all the latest COVID-19 support schemes available for businesses, it’s well worth looking on the Enterprise Ireland website for the latest details.

What are the longer term financial supports available, other than the Social Enterprise Development Fund?

New businesses and start-ups of all types are strongly encouraged in Ireland, and there are numerous programmes that have been around for years. The Think Business website has an extensive list of those available which is updated regularly.

Don’t forget R&D Tax Credits!

If your business has recently carried out work that has enhanced understanding in any area of science or technology then it could be eligible for help towards the cost. Perhaps you’ve created a brand new product, process or service or appreciably upgraded an existing one? If money was spent on materials, overheads, staff costs and more then you could well have a claim.

The R&D Tax Credits scheme was launched in the early 2000s and is open to any Irish company in any sector. It works by allowing companies to receive a credit which reduces their Corporation Tax liability (or to receive a cash lump sum instead if the company made a loss). A highly popular and generous scheme, it means that as much as 25% of R&D expenditure can be reclaimed, on top of the 12.5% Corporation Tax deduction at the standard rate. There’s no minimum claim value either, so even the smallest of companies can benefit.

Make sure your company doesn’t miss out - discover more on our R&D Tax Credits page.

How do I apply for R&D Tax Credits?

Companies should use the Revenue Online Service (ROS) to claim the credit on their Corporation Tax return. They will also need to make the relevant checks beforehand to ensure they are eligible.

However, making the application is not particularly easy. So that fraudulent claims can be avoided, the Revenue has very specific rules about what projects and expenditure qualify, and exactly how applications should be put together. Various calculations and figures must be supplied, alongside a written narrative describing the background to the work, why it should be eligible and what scientific/technological uncertainty was addressed. It’s incredibly easy for errors to occur - which is why it’s strongly recommended that companies use the Tax Cloud portal.

Devised by our experienced, highly skilled team of R&D specialists and consultants at Myriad Associates, the Tax Cloud will guide you through the claims process to give a clear, maximised, successful R&D Tax Credits application. We are also on hand at each stage should you need any help, and all claims are checked by us before submission to Revenue.

Ready to get started? Try the Tax Cloud portal today - your business could well end up thousands of euros better off. You can also call us on +353 1 556 2001 or use our contact page and one of the team will get back to you. We’re working as normal during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
Start your Tax Cloud claim now Discover if you qualify and ensure your R&D tax claim is maximised. Get started
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Meet some of the team behind Tax Cloud

Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
Jillian Chambers Jillian Chambers Technical Analyst/Writer
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson Technical Analyst Manager
Rabia Mohammad Rabia Mohammad Corporate Tax Associate