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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