Sean Coughlan (SEI) with Tony Keily (PEI)
We were pleased to be a part of PEI’s 50th birthday celebrations over the weekend, where our CEO Seán Coughlan had the opportunity to present the work of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. We’re delighted to welcome them on board as partners in our support of Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs.
PEI are one of Ireland’s leading surgical and medical device distributors and 2013 is a landmark date for the organisation as it reaches the milestone of 50 years in business. To mark the occasion the company will host several activities during the year – for staff, suppliers, customers and others, and has agreed a three year partnership with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. PEI’s practical and financial support will ensure that we can continue to scale and grow the impact of our Awardees and their new solutions for social challenges in Ireland.
SEI and PEI – Together Thinking Big & Changing Ireland!
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something”
This week we announce which 18 applicants have made it through to the interview stage of our selection process, an incredibly exciting time for both them and us. The flip-side to this of course is that we will be informing another 22 applicants that they have not made it through. Add that to the 164 applicants who didn’t make it to Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp and you can begin to see how unbelievably competitive this whole process is.
While our application process helps to give us a snapshot of what is being done across the island of Ireland to solve the myriad of societal and environmental problems facing us today, Bootcamp helps to bring those snapshots to life (for photos click here). Bringing together 40 of the most enthusiastic and innovative entrepreneurs creates an atmosphere like no other, an atmosphere that turns words on a piece of paper into something much more emotive, much more real.
A goal of ours at Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp is to give more to our applicants than we ask of them through their pitch. We try to offer them constructive advice and useful tips through workshops and talks from some really impressive individuals who know what it’s like to operate in the social enterprise space.
However if we’re honest, we fall short of this goal every time. Not because the insights and expertise of our speakers is inadequate (nothing could be further from the truth) but because no matter what we offer our applicants we always get far more from this day than they do. We come away inspired and excited about the possibility of working with them. It reminds us why we do what we do, and the potential these individuals have to change Ireland for the better.
Abraham Lincoln once wrote – “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. That’s exactly what these entrepreneurs are doing. They are remoulding our communities, our towns and our cities, showing their fellow citizens what is possible when we take control of our own destiny. They avoid what is easy and focus on what is right. They have given up their seats on the sidelines and have joined the game, levelling the playing field in the process.
The work that these entrepreneurs undertake is pivotal in securing the future for Ireland and the more work being done the better. This selection process might be tough, and the odds for our applicants daunting, but that can only mean one thing, the future is bright.
Awards Programme Coordinator
At Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, we are all about scaling great new solutions for social problems in Ireland. Each year, through our application process we put out a call to “Think Big. Act Now. Change Ireland.” and we hear about all the great work that is being done throughout the country to tackle Ireland’s most entrenched social and environmental problems. Through our Awards Programme we make transformative investments in high potential social entrepreneurs and we provide the support it takes to ensure that these entrepreneurs increase their social impact.
While doing all of this, we realise that sometimes it’s important to take a step back and look at how social entrepreneurship and the work that social entrepreneurs do fits into the broader social and economic context.
The Impact Series will do just that… and more.
Engaging and Inspiring
Recognising the potential of social entrepreneurship to create both social and economic value, particularly at a time when uncertainty is prevalent in all sectors of Irish society, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation is funding the development of The Impact Series. The events will engage a wide range of leaders from the business, public and non-profit sector as well as some of Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs. The Impact Series is designed to inspire innovative ideas, to bring social entrepreneurship to a wider audience and to spark discussion and debate around key social issues and the role that social entrepreneurship can have in addressing these issues.
We realise that there are lots of people out there with early stage ideas to change Ireland and we know it can be difficult to get these ideas off the ground, so each night at the Impact Series events, The Minnovation Fund will be up for grabs. The Minnovation Fund (which will comprise all ticket proceeds) will be presented as a seed fund to the social entrepreneur who pitches the best early stage, high impact idea on the night.
The Impact Series… Inspiring Ideas to Change Ireland
We truly believe that social entrepreneurship can change Ireland and every year we are inspired by the fantastic work that is being done all over the country to address our greatest social and environmental problems. So, by taking a step back and looking at the broader eco-system in which social entrepreneurship exists, by engaging leaders from all sectors of society and by giving startup social entrepreneurs a chance to get their ideas off the ground, The Impact Series will provide a new platform from which real and lasting social change can grow.
The first Impact Series event on Innovation in Education takes place on Monday April 8th, for more information and to register click here http://theimpactseries.eventbrite.ie.
As our 2013 applicants wait patiently to hear if they have made it into our Top 40 for Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp, I’ve had the opportunity to analyse some interesting trends from this year’s application process. While a full analysis is still some time away, have a look at what has jumped out at us so far:
Cities aren’t all bad: The percentage of Dublin applications has risen slightly from 43% in 2012 to 45% in 2013. More interestingly however the other Irish cities have seen a much larger jump. In 2012 Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford accounted for 17% of all applications, but in 2013 that figure had risen to 25%.
Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow: Despite having a 4 week window for submitting applications, the vast majority of them were submitted in the last 48 hours. 80% of all applications were submitted in the last two days, with 75% of those coming in during the last 24 hours. If you’re struggling to understand what that looks like…
Oh, so they have the internet on computers now: Many of you may not be aware that the internet has become extremely popular in recent times, so much so in fact that 25% of applicants to our Awards Programme this year heard about us online. For those of you still sceptical about this new-fangled internet business you’ll be glad to hear that 18% of our applicants heard about Social Entrepreneurs Ireland the old fashioned way, word of mouth!
Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional: 25% of this year’s applicants were between the ages of 18 and 34, with a staggering 56% between the ages of 35 and 50. However youth isn’t everything with four applicants over the age of 65.
Battle of the sexes: Female applicants made up 41% of those applying to this year’s Awards Programme, with male applicants conveniently accounting for 59% of applicants. Additionally 100% of applicants were human.
Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once: Not surprisingly start-ups continue to provide Social Entrepreneurs Ireland with the vast majority of applications. 59% of all applicants to the 2013 Awards Programme established their organisations in the last two years. The oldest organisation applying to this year’s Awards was founded in 1967!
Hopefully over the coming months we will have the opportunity to expand on some of these findings further, but for now there is too much work to be done in finding the 8 social entrepreneurs we will be supporting in 2013!
Awards Programme Coordinator
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Chief Executive Seán Coughlan submitted a Letter to the Editor for yesterday’s 2023 edition of the Irish Times. See below for an insight into what Seán expects to be talking about in ten years time!
As I am sure your readers will have noticed we are now surrounded by a well-rounded, well-educated, entrepreneurial generation of Irish young people who actively give back to society, and quite frankly, it’s just not good enough!
With all the positive things that have happened over the last ten years, if the older generation cannot complain about the youth of today then what, I ask you, is left for us to complain about. Personally, I lay the blame for this sorry state of affairs on those people 10 years ago who, in times of economic crisis, took this nation’s entrepreneurial talent and used it to develop solutions that were not about making money but about making a difference. These so-called ‘social entrepreneurs’ apparently went on to address many of the entrenched social and environmental challenges Ireland faced and, in so doing, inspired a whole generation.
If this keeps up it will only be that perennial Irish favourite, the weather, that will keep us malcontents going!
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
Every year when we prepare for the launch of our Awards Programme, the team here at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland do our best to anticipate the multitude of queries that any one of our potential applicants might have. These hypothetical queries are then answered, by us, in our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section on our website. In truth however, some FAQs are more frequent than others!
So in an effort to pre-empt some of this confusion, I have compiled my top three awards queries to date. This way we can address these issues once and for all….or hopefully at least until tomorrow.
1. Do I have to work full time on my project?
You do not currently have to be working full time on your project in order to apply to the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards Programme. What we do ask however is that if you are successful in making it through our selection process, and then onto our Impact Programme, we would expect you to work full time on your project from that point on.
2. Can I apply for funding or be in receipt of funding from other sources?
Yes and yes! With our long track record in the sector we understand how fundraising can be a constant battle, particularly in the early stages of an organisation.
3. I have a great idea but haven’t tested it yet, am I eligible to apply?
Our motto at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is simple. Think Big, Act Now, Change Ireland. That means that we want entrepreneurs who are not limiting the potential of their projects by thinking small, as well as entrepreneurs who have rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work. We expect our applicants to have moved beyond the ideas stage, and to be able to show some tangible results from the work they have put in. Some projects may be further along than others, but we expect all applicants to have taken the initiative to get up, get out, and get working.
Here’s hoping that this has clarified things for some of you. Ultimately the decision to apply or not to apply is yours to make. What I can say is that this is by far the most exciting time of the year for the team at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland! There is nothing more enthusing than reading about all the fantastic work being done around the country in the name of social entrepreneurship.
While we may not be in a position to support all of the applicants financially, we can at least offer our full moral support and best wishes as you continue to change Ireland for the better.
Awards Programme Coordinator
Will it be you?
The Most Exciting Time of the Year?
“Think Big. Act Now. Change Ireland.” We throw out the call to people all over the country. If you have an innovative solution to a societal problem in Ireland, we want to hear from you. We want you to tell us how your solution has the potential to change Ireland. And we don’t just want to hear about it. We want to help you to make it happen.
This year alone we have raised a fund of €500,000 in cash to give away and a further €250,000 in practical supports and training. At a time when funding elsewhere is being cut, this investment in innovative solutions is more important than ever.
The purpose of the application process is to attract the very best entrepreneurs who are tackling social problems throughout Ireland. Read More
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is now open for applications for this year’s Awards Programme, with a total cash fund of €500,000 to support individuals with new solutions for social challenges in Ireland.
The Awards Programme will see eight social entrepreneurs selected to partake in one of our two support Programmes: the Impact Programme and the Elevator Programme. Three social entrepreneurs will be selected for the Impact Programme and will each receive direct funding of €130,000 over two years, as well as over €70,000 worth of training, mentoring and support.
Five social entrepreneurs will be selected for the Elevator Programme and will each receive direct funding of €22,000 over one year, as well as over €10,000 worth of training, mentoring and support.
The deadline for applications is Monday 18th February. Full details of the application process, eligibility criteria and an overview of the Awards Programme can be found online at www.socialentrepreneurs.ie.
An Information Evening will be held on Tuesday 29th January at 6.30 pm in the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre, Grand Canal Quay. Previous Awardees will share their experiences and the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland team will be available to answer any questions you may have about the application process. Please register your interest in attending at http://seiawards2013infoevening.eventbrite.ie.
Timeline of the birth of a Social Entrepreneur
By Myles McCorry
Step 1: Elation of idea. Can’t get over your own brilliance. (2 weeks)
Step 2: Talk yourself into resolving the problem. Feel like Gandhi. (4-5 weeks)
Step 3: HOW?? Feeling low, as you have told your partner and committed yourself – and only now do you see how tall the mountain that you have chosen to climb is. But you do it any way. (7 weeks)
Step 4: A friends son does you a web site and you feel like you are Kofi Annan Presiding over the UN for 20 minutes. The idea has legs and you are running.
Step 5: You realize it is not actually financially viable or someone (anyone!) would have done this before (5 days). You trip and fall – but get up stronger.
Step 6: Who can give me money; sure it’s a good cause. (This lasts from that point for the whole duration of the project)
GAA Voted Biggest Force for Social Change
Our survey says….
GAA Beats Both St Vincent de Paul & Mary McAleese to be named Ireland’s Greatest Ever Force for Social Change
• Public identify citizens and communities (55%) as being those most responsible for social change in Ireland ahead of politicians (24%)
• One in two members of public wants to help make social change happen
• Public identify local community, disability and education as the areas they are most likely to get involved in changing
• 70% of public identify Government / politicians as area of society most in need of change
• Ireland’s cultural identity and sense of community seen as the greatest sources of national pride
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has been voted Ireland’s greatest ever force for social change according to research commissioned by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. The survey of over 200 adults underlines a desire for real social change in the country and reveals a public willingness to get involved in making it happen. One in two (48%) of respondents said they would be willing to get involved in making change happen with education 26%, local community 20% and disability 12% the areas that appeal most to potential volunteers.
2012 Awards, 2013 Awards, Aviva Cohen, awards, Bono, Bookbuzz, Branding, Carer, change, chronic illness, City of a Thousand Welcomes, Creative Writing, Dublin, Education, Fighting Words, GAA, GIY Ireland, impact, Jim Stynes, John Hume, Karl Swan, Mary McAleese, Michael Kelly, Neuro Hero, Ron Immink, Sean Love, SOAR, Social Change, social enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, social innovation, social isolation, Sports, start-up, status quo, Tony Griffin, Tourism, Tourism Ireland, Trevor White, VdeP