The Future is Social: Press Release

The Future is Social: Press Release

Dublin’s fast-growing local social enterprise, Speedpak Group set to make a greater difference in Post-Covid-19 recovery

Rethink Ireland calls on public to #supportsocial 

40 Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees providing vital services to over 266,000 people, supporting 500 people to obtain employment, and €22.2m turnover, according to report

Rethink Ireland CEO says social enterprises have the power to help reshape a fairer and more inclusive post-crisis Ireland

Social enterprises are businesses that work to improve people’s lives

Rethink Ireland is calling on the public to support their own local social enterprises by buying their products and using their services. This is part of an awareness campaign, ‘The Future is Social’ which will be rolled out over the coming months and aims to highlight the power of social enterprises to help strengthen communities nationwide, especially in the post-Covid-19 recovery.

Dublin-based social enterprise, Speedpak Group, which trades commercially to transform the lives of people who were previously long-term unemployed, is helping to raise awareness about social enterprises in Dublin. Speedpak Group are among 40 Awardees of the Social Enterprise Development Fund who, according to the ’Social Enterprise Development Fund report’ published today, together have provided vital services to over 266,000 people, supported 500 people to obtain employment (the majority of whom are from minority groups), generated €22.2m in turnover and mobilised almost 16,000 volunteers over the last three years.

Most communities around the country have several social enterprises which are businesses that work primarily to improve people’s lives and achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. Social enterprises deliver a broad range of services in areas such as social housing, homecare, environmental services, health services, hospitality, catering and many more. Like other businesses, social enterprises trade in goods and services on an ongoing basis, the difference is they reinvest their profits into achieving their core social objectives. 

“Social enterprises are like the glue within a community. We’re bringing together the business community, the state, philanthropy and the wider community so that we can deliver innovative solutions and make a really big impact in people’s lives.”, says John Murphy CEO of Speedpak Group, which provides real work experience, accredited industry training and mentoring to people who are unemployed long-term. “I would encourage people to discover their own local social enterprises and see what they can offer”. 

“Social enterprise is at the heart of the inclusive economy we need to build in Ireland, creating sustainable jobs at the heart of local communities, while adding value and meeting local needs.”, says Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland, “The published report proves that with funding and business supports social enterprises can grow and thrive. It is important that we support social enterprises to play the leadership role they are capable of in the Covid-19 recovery and green transition, so that it is a sustainable recovery that leaves no one behind.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphrey’s, TD, welcomes ‘The Future is Social’ campaign. “I am delighted to support Rethink Ireland’s campaign to raise awareness of social enterprise. One of the main objectives of the National Social Enterprise Policy is to build awareness of social enterprises as a dynamic and growing part of Irish social and economic life.”, says Minister Humphreys, “A new Awareness Strategy has been developed to highlight the critical role they play in responding to many of our current challenges, and to emphasise their potential to shape a more sustainable and inclusive future”.

George Jones, Chairman & Group Non-Executive Director of IPB Insurance, highlights the importance of support for social enterprises. “We are delighted to support Rethink Ireland and our Local Authority Members for the fourth year of the combined €3.2m Social Enterprise Development Fund.”, he says, “The impact achieved by the 40 awardees demonstrates the momentum for social enterprise at such a critical time for our society. This awareness campaign will further support Local Authority partnerships and Enterprise Offices to provide the right supports at the right time to social enterprises across all communities in Ireland.” 

‘The Future is Social’ campaign will be running over the next few months to help build awareness of the power of social enterprises and how they can help the post-Covid 19 social and economic recovery in a more inclusive way. People can get involved in the campaign by supporting social, buying social and even creating social enterprises themselves. ‘The Future is Social’ campaign will provide regional webinars, information and resources about social enterprises, what they can do, and how everyone can get involved. 

More information about social enterprises and ‘The Future is Social’ campaign can be found on Rethink Ireland’s website at 

Enterprise Development Fund Showcase 2021

Enterprise Development Fund Showcase 2021

The 2021 Social Enterprise Development Fund Showcase – celebrating the impact achieved by its 2020 Awardees – took place on Thursday 21st of January 2021.

Speedpak Group is very grateful to have been one of the awardees and delighted to be part of the Showcase.

This special event was hosted by Alan Shortt and featured contributions from Deirdre Mortell (CEO of Rethink Ireland), Deputy Joe O’Brien TD (Minister of State for Community Development and Charities), George Jones (Chairman of IPB Insurance) and from each of the Awardees. [See list of Awardees below.]

The Social Enterprise Development Fund is a €3.2 million fund, created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund. In 2020, 16 social enterprises received cash grants and business supports from the fund, while a further 24 enterprises received strategic support through the SEDF’s Genesis programme. 

Winners of the Pitch Fund were Turn2Me, Grow Remote, Triest Press and Specialisterne.

A recording of the event can now be viewed on Vimeo at

2020 Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees

Amicitia works in rural areas across Ireland with consistently high poverty levels, co-creating initiatives to improve the quality of life of locally marginalised inhabitants, including aged, disabled, socially isolated people.

Castlecomer Discovery Park
This Co. Kilkenny adventure park was established to develop rural tourism, create jobs and regenerate the town of Castlecomer.

Cork Counselling Services
Cork Counselling Services is an IACP accredited organisation, providing counselling and psychotherapy services to anyone who needs them, regardless of background, as well as educating and training students to a professional counselling standard.

CyberSafe Ireland
CyberSafe Ireland teaches parents and children how to safely and responsibly navigate the internet.

Dublin Food Co-op
Dublin Food Co-op is a Kilmainham-based organic food community, promoting sustainably-grown organic and vegetarian wholefoods.

EPIC Social Enterprise
EPIC (Enhanced Progress Inspiring Change) offers employment opportunities to people trying to get their lives back on track following problems with addiction and/or past criminality.

Grow Remote
Grow Remote provides resources to help people obtain opportunities to work remotely in their community.

jumpAgrade is an online personalised teaching provider, which particularly supports second-level students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, who previously would have been unable to avail of grinds and exam preparation from qualified, expert teachers.

Irish Rural Link (Nasc Tuaithe na hÉireann)
Irish Rural Link is the National Meals on Wheels Coordination Unit, which continuously aims to make this national social service more sustainable.

Specialisterne is a social enterprise which recruits and supports neurodiverse people – people with autism, aspergers and other similar challenges – who are trying to find employment.

Speedpak Group
Speedpak Group (comprising Speedpak Contract Services and Shamrock Rosettes) is a manufacturing social enterprise that provides real work experience, accredited training, mentoring, tailored interventions and supports to long-term unemployed people. This combination of trading – with customers, quality standards and deadlines – and industry-led training is transformative, increasing participants’ employability and job resilience, leading to greater financial independence.

The Textile Studio
The Textile Studio provides first-time employment and workplace training opportunities to refugee women or women who have been through the criminal justice system

The Together Razem Centre offers social, legal, mental health and educational support to adults and children from the Polish and Eastern European migrant community at risk of exclusion and isolation in Ireland.

Triest Press
Roscommon-based Triest Press provides employment and training opportunities to people with intellectual

Turn2Me is a community of qualified and accredited mental health professionals, who provide an online confidential and anonymous service to people aged 12 and over, seeking support with their mental health.

Longford Women’s Link (LWL)
LWL offers educational and training opportunities aimed at providing equality, security and financial independence for women who left school early, left the workplace when they married and/or are at risk of domestic violence.

Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees Announced

Social Enterprise Development Fund Awardees Announced

PRESS RELEASE: A contemporary alternative to grinds, a social business employing ex-offenders, and a zero-waste organic food co-op are just three of 40 social enterprises to be awarded over €400,000 by Rethink Ireland today [4 October 2020].

Today Rethink Ireland announces the 40 Awardees of their Social Enterprise Development Fund; 16 enterprises will receive cash grants and business support, and a further 24 enterprises will receive strategic support to help expand their impact through a ‘Genesis Programme’.

The Social Enterprise Development Fund is a €3.2 million Fund being delivered from 2018 – 2022. The fund was created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Local Authorities Ireland and funded by IPB Insurance and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, said: “Today’s recipients of funding and support from Rethink Ireland are doing vital work in their communities to promote social and economic wellbeing, and I wish to congratulate them on their achievements. Now, more than ever, we need innovative leaders to re-think the way we live and work at an individual, local and national level to create a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable society for everyone. These Awardees are excellent examples of the importance of social enterprises to Irish society and the economy.” 

CEO of Rethink Ireland Deirdre Mortell, said: “Social enterprises are part of the fabric of communities across Ireland, using business skills and clever thinking to drive their mission supporting people and planet. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have all been reminded about the critical value of strong community. Therefore, the role Rethink Ireland and Local Authorities play in promoting community and social enterprise is now even more important. I would like to congratulate this year’s highly impressive and diverse range of Awardees.”

Amongst the Social Enterprise Development Fund 2020 Awardees are:

The Dublin Food Co-Op: The Dublin Food Co-op is a not-for-profit organisation that addresses the lack of accessible, affordable education on food sustainability and how co-operatives can be organised to sustain their local communities. Operating out of a shop in Kilmainham, it has almost 3,000 members and has created a co-operative environment in which to learn and share together.

jumpAgrade: jumpAgrade is making personalised teaching accessible to all students, addressing the growing educational inequality accelerated by the “grinds culture” in Ireland.Its online platform and research-backed methods enable them to support second-level students from less fortunate backgrounds and underrepresented groups, those who would not have been able to access exam preparation and coaching from qualified, expert teachers before.

EPIC (Enhancing Progress Inspiring Change): EPIC (Enhancing Progress Inspiring Change) is a social business project in Wexford that provides employment for people who want to reclaim their lives after problems with addiction and/or past criminality. The business produces printed promotional materials such as t-shirts, mugs, folders, pens and conference materials, with any profits reinvested into the enterprise.

Together Razem: Together Razem Centre supports those in the Polish and Eastern European migrant community facing problems related to marginalisation, exclusion and isolation in Ireland. The centre offers advocacy, social and legal advice, mental health support and educational programmes for children and adults, enabling the Polish community to be a more cohesive part of the Irish community.

Speaking on the ongoing partnership, George Jones, Chairman of IPB Insurance, commented “Supporting communities to achieve resilient and sustainable solutions to the problems they face has been part of our company’s DNA since our founding. That’s why we believe so strongly in the investment we are making through this fund, when you invest in a social enterprise you know that it’s a sustainable investment that will be used wisely to reach all those in society who need their help.”

Deirdre Mortell added: “I look forward to seeing the Awardees continue to make a positive social impact.  The calibre of the Awardees is reflective of the strong social enterprise spirit that exists in Ireland. I would like to thank all our partners in creating this fund who enable Rethink Ireland to provide our financial and strategic support to enterprises delivering positive social change. I would encourage more enterprises to apply for the fund next year.”

For more information visit:

CCJ Magazine Autumn 2020

CCJ Magazine Autumn 2020

The Autumn 2020 edition of CCJ magazine by Seán Cooke can now be downloaded here for free.

Featuring articles on community finance, Brexit, beekeeping, the bioeconomy, Covid19, EU issues, the recent launch of SERI and a new social enterprise case study, this is a valuable update for social enterprise and urban and rural community regeneration projects in Ireland.

Note from CCJ:

“We are inviting our readers, project teams and organisations to submit articles with photos that inform our network on any aspect of social enterprise development. Any job creation project or voluntary community development that would be helpful to others. CCJ is a shared learning network dedicated to helping fellow organisations and projects realise their ambitions and objectives. Any information, idea, solution, contact of interest and value should be shared within our network.”

Launch of new social enterprise representative body SERI

Launch of new social enterprise representative body SERI

Speedpak Group is proud to be a member of the new social enterprise representative body SERI which was launched on 10th July 2020.

SERI is working to increase awareness and understanding of social enterprise and to demonstrate the value to Ireland’s economy and society of the sector by forging connections, facilitating networks within and outside the sector, working with local and national government to implement policy, engaging with E.U., OECD, SE World Forum and other relevant international bodies while developing partnerships with the private sector and working collaboratively with all support organisations.

More information on SERI and its founding members can be found at

Increased access to social finance loans for social sector announced

Increased access to social finance loans for social sector announced

Monday 18th May 2020

The Social Finance Foundation, in conjunction with Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), has announced two new funding initiatives that have been welcomed by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD. The funds will mean greater access to social finance loans for organisations in the social sector.

€44 million in additional low-cost funding from Irish banks

Under this agreement, the Irish banks will make an additional €44m in low-cost funding available to the Social Finance Foundation over the period 2021 to 2025.

€25 million in Loan Guarantees from European Investment Fund

Under this agreement, the European Investment Fund has agreed to provide loan guarantees totalling €25m to support new lending by the Foundation. The €25m Loan Guarantee is being made available under the European Union’s Employment and Social Innovation programme, part of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Further information on the announcement is available on the Social Finance Foundation website at: