Employment, Social Inclusion & Enterprise

Please note that programme details for the 2021-2027 framework are forthcoming and the information below relates to programmes from the 2014-2020 framework; however, there may currently be open funding calls for this programme.

Click here for open calls / current deadlines.


Employment and Social Inclusion 

The European Social Fund (ESF) is Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities for all EU citizens. It works by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people and all those seeking a job. ESF financing of €10 billion a year is improving job prospects for millions of Europeans, in particular those who find it difficult to get work. 

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science manages the ESF in Ireland through their ESF Policy and Operations unit. It supports a variety of government schemes dedicated to sustainable and quality employment, women in the workforce, social inclusion and equal opportunities, education, training and life-long learning, and the Youth Employment Initiative. 

Funding from the ESF may mean new courses provided, additional places on courses, no fees, or assistance provided for students or trainees. More info on this is available from the EU Funds Ireland website



COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of €2.3billion. 


COSME aims to facilitate SME access to finance, create supportive environment for business creation, help small businesses operate outside their home countries and improve their access to markets. COSME is a programme implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) which reflects the Commission’s political will to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy. 


For more information visit the COSME website


Want to find out more? 


Click on the links above to visit the relevant websites and find out more about employment, social inclusion and enterprise funding opportunities for your organisation. 

Current Funding


Current Funding