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The 2016 SEI Awards- Reigniting the Spark

Posted by on October 21, 2016

The 2016 SEI Awards- Reigniting the Spark

Last Week’s Awards Ceremony marked the beginning of an exciting new journey for both the team here at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland as well as our incoming Awardees.

The stage was set, the performance ready and at the back of the room several ReCreate shakers were being fervently tested by volunteers awaiting the start of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards 2016. Sparks of anticipation were very much in the air, not only for the Awards Ceremony but also for what would follow…

The Awards ceremony acted as the starting piston for our entrepreneurs. The start of the next stage of their journey which they have spent months and in some cases years, working towards.

This was to be my first Awards. Having recently joined the SEI team, the Awards was my first opportunity to see the results of the SEI selection process, to see both the team and this year’s awardees in action. Having met the awardees in the weeks prior to the event I had a sense of their journey, but to hear their stories told at the Awards was exceptional. To see their passion and determination was inspiring. As each of our Awardees stood up and told the story of their first follower, I, as I’m sure was the case for many of the 650 people in the room, was reminded of my own first follower and the difference they made to me.

This, for me, is yet another way that our entrepreneurs are actively creating change, by telling their story, of their successes and failures, they are inspiring others.

Our entrepreneurs are extremely dedicated, working tirelessly to improve upon their existing work and are determined to achieve change both for themselves and for Ireland.

The sense of determination, of this unwillingness to settle for the status quo, for pre-existing norms, is evident within each of this year’s entrepreneurs. They are willing, able and above all passionate that they can, and will, positively impact Irish society. It is this passion that has helped them become the 2016 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact and Elevator Awardees.

The Awards ceremony was not just about acknowledging our Awardees and their work, it was also about acknowledging their first followers.

First Followers are the people who get behind social entrepreneurs in the early stages, who validate their decision to act and provide the support that is needed to overcome the many challenges along the journey. First followers are leaders too, stepping up before the crowd gathers. Throughout the night we heard from our Awardees, about their work and about the first followers who helped them start their journey as social entrepreneurs.

This year’s awardees include a diverse range of winners, providing solutions to issues such as accessible travel, providing support for those living with social anxiety disorder, creating a national wellbeing movement to help change how we talk about mental health.

Each of our Awardees began with an idea, a hope that they could make a change to the lives of those around them. Many of our Awardees used their own lived experience to provide a solution to improve a system that is either too slow, inadequate or missing. This is the essence of social entrepreneurship. To go beyond the norm, to not only maintain a set of beliefs but to actively engage them in order to create social change.

Over the past 12 years SEI has supported over 200 social entrepreneurs to create change in Ireland. These social entrepreneurs have provided innovative and creative solutions to many of Ireland’s social problems. Just like our Alumni, our current Awardees have and will continue to…Think Big, Act Now, Change Ireland.

Patrick Sweeney
Marketing and Development Specialist



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