Seven Winning Entrepreneurs Of Nationwide Competition Announced

Funding and support of over €6.77 million has been invested to date, from private sector donors, through Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI), to support new innovations tackling issues affecting Irish society. This is in addition to the significant non-financial support also provided equivalent to over €2 million in value, including coaching, mentoring, business development, training and pro-bono support from some of Ireland’s leading corporate organisations.

DCC plc, the international sales, marketing, and support services group, is the flagship supporter of the Awards and SEI’s largest and longest-standing corporate partner.

This year alone the social entrepreneurs supported by SEI are providing services which reach over 1.7 million people across Ireland, and currently employ 1,345 people.

In February this year, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland launched a nationwide competition, searching for big ideas to solve Ireland’s social problems. Hundreds of applications were received and following a rigorous selection process, the seven winning entrepreneurs were announced (Wednesday 4th October) at an Awards Ceremony in the Mansion House in Dublin to an audience of over 600 people, including prominent leaders in Irish business.

Alternative solutions to the housing supply crisis, addiction rehabilitation and under resourced primary schools – just some of the issues being tackled by social entrepreneurs to receive funding and investment from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland this year.

Speaking at the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards at the Mansion House in Dublin, CEO Darren Ryan said,

‘We are delighted to announce the 2017 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland awardees. They are ambitious, driven people with innovative solutions to Ireland’s social problems.’

Speaking about the work of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland he said, ‘entrepreneurs are constantly iterating. They find solutions to gaps in services. This is a recognised approach in the commercial sector. We take the same approach to gaps in services in the social sector. We look for people with innovative approaches to tackle the issues that are affecting Irish people across the country and we give them the support to scale their impact and effectiveness.’

The 2017 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardees are tackling a wide variety of problems through their innovative projects: Alice D’Arcy and Grainne Bagnall with STEAM Education – a programme to bring STEM subjects and the arts into the classroom; Colin Healy and James Lyons with Sailing into Wellness – an exhilarating and therapeutic sailing programme for vulnerable or marginalised groups; Duncan Walker with The Green Kitchen Café and Garden Centre – which supports people with intellectual disabilities to find meaningful employment; Hugh Brennan of Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance – an affordable housing solution; Niall O’Brien with The Grow Dome Project – turning wastelands into community spaces using geodesic domes; Stephanie O’Malley with Education DESTY – an online programme to support children with additional emotional needs; and Tammy Darcy with The Shona Project – a programme of supports, a survival kit for girls, provided  in schools and online for young girls to overcome personal challenges.

SEI provides critical support for social entrepreneurs to help them scale their impact around Ireland.

MCs for the Awards Ceremony were former SEI Awardees Aoibheann O’Brien, co-founder of FoodCloud and Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm. Since winning the SEI Award, FoodCloud has gone on to provide 20 million meals for those in need and AsIAm has become a leading platform for support and advocacy for the Autism community in Ireland.

Speaking at the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards, CEO of DCC plc, the flagship sponsor of the Awards, Donal Murphy said,

“DCC’s relationship with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has gone from strength to strength over the last seven years and we take great pride in our role as flagship sponsor of the annual Awards Celebration. DCC has backed commercially focused entrepreneurship for more than 40 years and we equally believe that the creativity and passion of Irish social entrepreneurs can make a significant contribution to solving our greatest challenges as a society. We are delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in celebrating the achievements of this year’s Awardees and look forward to following their progress in the years to come.”     


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