Chapter 10 Finding Supports

Chapter 10     Finding Supports

The social enterprise journey in Ireland can seem to be a lonely one. You are not alone. There are supports available.

10.1 When do I need a Professional?

It can be difficult getting started on your own or with a small group of people. Deciding when you need more help is a conversation worth having.

Many accountants and solicitors and business development professionals will often give you advice for free. It might be worth contacting people in your own networks with skills before you start. Make sure that you are as knowledgeable as you can be and consider pricing how much it might be to hire a professional to manage your finances or setting up your structure correctly before you begin.

10.1 Local Enterprise Offices

Local Enterprise Offices are set up to help business across Ireland and are a one-stop shop for information and resources. The LEO’s often provide information on training, mentoring and finance. Although there is no unified language on social enterprise for Local Enterprise Offices, they do provide supports for profit seeking organisations with a focus on creating employment and supporting entrepreneurship in general

You can find out about the Local Enterprise Offices through the website

You can find out about the Dublin Local Enterprise Office at their website

10.2 Local Development Companies

Local Development Companies (LDCs) are known by many different names throughout Ireland including Local Area Partnerships, LEADER Partnerships, Integrated Development Companies as well as ‘Local Development Company’. They provide supports and advice and training in local areas that have a:

  • Bottom-up approach – working with communities to develop local solutions to local issues
  • Focus on promoting local economic development
  • Focus on addressing inequality and social exclusion

Check out to find your Local Development Company

For more information on Dublin South City Partnership, check out

10.3 Social Finance Lenders

There are two social finance lenders in Ireland. They work closely with the Social Finance Foundation that provides support finance through the Dormant Account Fund. Social Finance Foundation does not itself loan to social enterprises directly but you can find out more about their work and the space by logging on to

Both Community Finance Ireland and Clann Credo provide social finance loans. You can find out more about them on their websites.

Community Finance Ireland

Clann Credo

10.4 Finance

Microfinance Ireland

GRID Finance

Linked Finance

10.5 Networks

Irish Social Enterprise Network

Charities Institute of Ireland

Community Reuse Network Ireland

The Wheel

Communities Creating Jobs

10.6 Grant Award Bodies

Social Innovation Fund

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award

Social Enterprise Award

The Wheel Funding Point

10.7 Other Supports

Irish Cooperative

Organisations Society (ICOS)

Citizens Information: Starting a business

Local Enterprise Office – Supporting SMEs Online Tool:

Local Enterprise Office – Training Programmes:

10.8 Private Organisation Supports

Enterprise Ireland

Sustainable Energy

Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Intertrade Ireland

Udaras na Gaeltachta

Quality Matters

10.9 Employment Supports

Local Employment Services

Social Welfare


There are a number of initiatives that might allow you to develop a social enterprise while seeking employment and also might find you your first employees. Find out more on initiatives such as the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Short-Term Enterprise Allowance, Tús, Community Employment and Community Services Programmes.

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