Google’s philanthropic arm provides €500,000 funding for social entrepreneur programme

Money will be used by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and INCO to help entrepreneurs grow their organisations

Google’s philanthropic arm is to provide €500,000 in funding to a programme to support social entrepreneur-led organisations in Ireland.

The money will be used by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) and INCO to help entrepreneurs grow their organisations and have a greater impact. SEI will use it to fund the Changing Ireland Accelerator Programme (CIAP), a 12-month initiative for underserved social entrepreneurs, with INCO working in parallel to that to provide cash sub-grants to the participants.

The CIAP will support up to four social entrepreneur-led organisations representing the most underserved communities in Ireland, through personalised supports and €60,000 in funding each. It will also provide support for further funding.

The programme is open to those who have identified a social or environmental issue and developed a clear solution and business model to solve it, with a new or better solution than is already available in Ireland. The organisation must also benefit underserved or underrepresented communities in Ireland.


The funding is part of Google’s European-wide commitment to supporting social entrepreneurs. The company has pledged €20 million in cash funding through the Social Innovation Fund to support underserved social innovators across Europe.

“Social enterprise is an increasingly crucial component of a resilient, equitable, and sustainable economy. By providing the sector better access to capital, talent, markets, and technology, businesses such as Google have the opportunity to meaningfully serve the communities they operate in and advance impactful humanitarian and environmental causes,” said Adaire Fox-Martin, president of Google Cloud International and head of Google Ireland. “These grants reflect Google’s continued commitment to supporting social entrepreneurs around the world and to the principle that entrepreneurship can be the best way to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges.”

SEI chief executive Tim Griffiths said the organisation believed the funding will help social entrepreneur-led organisations to scale up and accelerate the impact they are having across Ireland, reaching the most underserved communities. The not-for-profit organisation has supported more than 550 social entrepreneurs across the country since it was founded in 2004, including Pieta House, AsIAm, Irish Community Air Ambulance, GIY, FoodCloud and the Irish Men’s Sheds Association.

Global nonprofit INCO is seeking to create a more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economy. It currently works in more than 40 countries around the world, offering free education programmes and helping to accelerate businesses. It also works with on StartSocial, an initiative that provides funding and capacity-building to over 400 social enterprises across Europe.

“This initiative represents a concrete step towards building a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Mathieu Planchard, global head of development at INCO. “The combination of capacity building support and strategic grant funding is the right recipe to break down the barriers faced by underserved founders in Ireland today.”

Those who want to apply for the Changing Ireland Accelerator Programme can do so through the SEI’s website. The selection process will begin in February, with successful applicants accepted to the programme from June.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist