In a world where a great deal of uncertainty remains, social entrepreneurs are stepping up with solutions to social problems and are inspiring others through taking action. That’s according to Tim Griffiths, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) who yestderday held a special online event - the SEI Gathering - recognising the achievements of social entrepreneurs this year. Six organisations from the SEI community who are spearheading innovative solutions to social problems were honoured at the event.
Since its foundation in 2004, SEI has supported more than 400 social entrepreneurs across the country. This year, SEI saw 172 applications to its Ideas Academy, with 60 securing a place on the programme that supports people with early stages solutions to move from idea to action. SEI also runs a number of other programmes for social entrepreneurs from start up to scale up.
Speaking at the event, Tim Griffiths, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland said “Over the past year we have seen incredible feats of human ingenuity and kindness shine through. We've seen multiple Covid-19 vaccines developed at unbelievable speed and technology continue to transform the way we all stay connected. Alongside these break-throughs, social entrepreneurs are shifting the attitude and expectations about solving social problems from ‘should’, to ‘could’, to ‘will’. They are leading by example.
“This pandemic has proven that innovation and resilience are two of our strongest assets.?All around us we see people not just coming up with ideas, but following through, working tirelessly - beingthe change they wish to see. We see that innovation and motivation across the SEI community and the nation.?The past 18 months have changed the world we live in, and the next 18 months are critical too. As an organisation, SEI is committed to continuing to drive innovation and champion solutions. The SEI Gathering is a special event for honouring members of the SEI community who have gone above and beyond in rolling out their solution to a social problem. We are proud to be supporting more social entrepreneurs than ever before in 2021, and we are committed to growing our support and impact in the coming years.”
Eight social entrepreneurs from six organisations were honoured for their work at the SEI Gathering online event:
Mamobo Ogoro, founder of Gorm Media and participant on the SEI Ideas Academy 2021. Gorm Media, is a digital media platform that curates common ground on social issues. In 2021, the platform went from strength to strength, holding regular online events and producing a wide-range of multimedia content that promotes curiosity, conversation and creativity.
Therese Coveney, founder of the Together Academy and participant on the SEI Ideas Academy 2018 and SEI Action Lab 2020. The Together Academy is a social enterprise that provides tailored training and employment opportunities for adults with Down syndrome. In September 2021, it launched its QQI accredited training programme for adults aged between 21 – 35.
Brandon Blacoe and Eibhlin O’Riordan, co-founders of ByoWave and SEI Impact Awardees 2021. ByoWave makes modular, accessible, and customisable video game controllers for people with disabilities, enabling everyone to design their own controllers and have unrestricted access to the world of video-gaming. Throughout 2021, the team have been developing prototypes for their first round of production.
Aisling and Mark Kirwan, co-founders of Positive Carbon and SEI Impact Awardees 2021. Positive Carbon works with hospitality businesses to reduce their impact on the environment through providing a fully automated food waste monitoring solution. In the last 12 months, they’ve run their first successful pilot project and had their patent fully approved.
Alex Cooney, founder of CyberSafeKids and an SEI Scale Partner 2018-2020. CyberSafeKids works to empower children, parents and teachers to navigate the online world in a safe and responsible manner. During lockdown, CyberSafeKids successfully moved all of their services online and ran a series of online bootcamps for children.
Krystian Fikert, founder of MyMind and an SEI Scale Partner 2020-2021. MyMind provides counselling and psychotherapy services in 15 different languages through an accessible blended delivery model (online and in person). COVID-19 saw MyMind make a rapid transition to the online space, moving their percentage of online appointments from 10% to 82%.
The SEI Gathering online event was hosted by alumni of the organisation - Tammy Darcy, founder of the Shona Project and Tony Griffin, co-founder of The Soar Foundation, with all the featured social entrepreneurs joining in studio for a live broadcast. More than 250 members of SEI’s community – made up of alumni, social sector experts, business leaders and SEI supporters – registered to attend the online event, with people logging on from places all around Ireland and the world.
DCC plc, the leading international sales, marketing and support services group founded and headquartered in Dublin, is the flagship supporter of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Gathering event.
Commenting, Chief Executive of DCC plc, Donal Murphy said: “DCC plc knows how important it is to support the people affecting real change across the island of Ireland. It is inspiring and encouraging to witness social entrepreneurs helping to drive positive change both in their communities and at a national level in the wake of the pandemic. We’d like to congratulate and thank the social entrepreneurs honoured at this event, and those working in villages and towns across Ireland, for all your hard work.”
SEI will launch a funding programme for early-stage social entrepreneurs on 18th October. SEI will make 32 bursaries of €250 available to people from under-represented and marginalised communities who have the spark of an idea for solving a social problem.
If you would like to know how your business can support the next high potential social entrepreneur, contact Darren, SEI Development Manager based in Cork, on firstname.lastname@example.org