Aviva Cohen of Neuro Hero launching her new app with Minister Sean Sherlock, TD
Congratulations to SEI Award Winner 2012 Aviva Cohen who recently launched ground-breaking speech and language therapy apps for stroke and brain injury survivors
The apps (for IoS and Android) will provide affordable home-based therapy solutions for families whose loved ones have communication difficulties arising from stroke, brain injury and a range of other conditions.
We were delighted to see Minister Sean Sherlock TD, who was recently announced as the Minister with responsibility for social enterprise, launch the four Talk Around IT apps.
12 months on from taking home an Impact Award at the 2012 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards, Aviva Cohen talks about her journey with her organisation Neuro Hero and the incredible difference support from SEI has made.
As I listened to the announcement for the second Impact Awardee I turned to my daughter and said “I didn’t get the Impact award but …”. I rationalised that I was managing her expectations but really I was trying to manage my own. She looked at me and said “Mum, look…you’re on the big screen!”. It may sound strange but at that moment I didn’t think about the very generous funding or the publicity, I didn’t even think about the incredible mentoring and support. I just kept thinking “I get to spend more time with these extraordinary people”.
Over the past year the Impact Award has made a genuine difference to Neuro Hero. We have exceeded all our targets by releasing 4 apps and 10 short videos to support people with communication difficulties and their families. We have had incredible opportunities to meet new people and develop new ideas. We are in the process of creating 3 apps for families living with dementia, 10 videos for people living with Parkinson’s disease, 3 more apps for communication difficulties and a suite of 3D educational animations.
SEI made it possible to bring my dreams to life, to create a real business with the potential to help countless families. Their support has been exactly what I needed and when I needed it; from our priceless mentoring sessions to the well thought our workshops and welcome advice. SEI have introduced me to incredible people, exposed me to new ideas and even transported me to India where I shared the journey of a lifetime with the most extraordinary traveling companions. SEI is not just an organisation, we are a family.
Eight finalists will have the opportunity to compete for €750,000 worth of support at the 2013 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards. The Awards selection process and ceremony is sponsored by one of Ireland’s largest public companies, DCC plc, which has been a flagship sponsor for the last three years. The winning nominees will be announced at an awards ceremony on Monday, 11 November at Christ Church Cathedral.
Winning an Impact award of €200,000 had a massive effect on all three of last years’ winners:
- National youth outreach programme Soar has seen a huge growth in their life-skills workshops for young people aged 10-18. From working with 780 young people in 2012, Soar have almost doubled their output to work with more schools and 1,480 young people since winning the 2012 award.
- Since James Whelton won an Impact Award in 2012, Coder Dojo has more than trebled the number of young people who are attending their free computer coding classes. While an estimated 2,400 people took part in their classes in 2012, there were 7,500 taking part throughout this year to date.
- Aviva Cohen of Neuro Hero was also supported through the Impact Programme in 2012. The Award has enabled her to develop a range of apps for people who suffer from reduced communication ability due to impairments such as brain injury or intellectual disability. These are due to launch this November.
This year’s finalists are John Evoy of Irish Men’s Sheds Association, Krystian Fikert of MyMind, Natasha & Toby Haslam Hopwood of The Galtee Clinic, Peter Johnson of Jobnet, Graham Jones of Solas Project, John Kearney of Irish Community Rapid Response, Brian McCormick of Adtruism and Mags Mullarney of Move4Parkinson’s.
“Each of the eight social entrepreneurs lead fantastic, young organisations that are using innovative approaches to help bring about major social change in Ireland in areas as diverse as healthcare, local emergency services, unemployment, charity fundraising, the children’s care system and the prison and probation system,” said Seán Coughlan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.
Tommy Breen, Chief Executive Officer, DCC plc, commented, “We at DCC are proud to continue with our support of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards. It is a great privilege and honour to play a role in the support and nourishment of Ireland’s brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs working to have a positive impact on our society.”
By Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick
A look back at our Impact Series discussion ‘Thinking Differently About Disability’ – Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick is the Communications Officer at Kanchi, an award-winning social enterprise that works to unleash the value of the one billion people in the world with a disability.
I am part of one of the most excluded communities in the world, due to conflicting stereotypes of extraordinary ability or charity dependent inability. I’m legally blind but don’t fall into either of these categories and neither do the majority of disabled people.
There are one billion people in the world with a disability and at home here in Ireland there are more people with disabilities than the entire population of county Cork. Can you imagine excluding an entire county, never mind an entire country because one characteristic associated with a community made you feel a little uncomfortable?
Changing how people think about disability is an integral part of creating an inclusive society. A society where I am no longer defined by my white stick and people with disabilities aren’t limited by what others think they “Can’t do”. We need a collaborative and cross sector approach in moving disability away from these stereotypes. But to do this we need to provide people with a platform to engage with disability and challenge their own thinking on disability.
On Monday evening in Smock Alley, The Impact Series provided a new platform from which real and lasting social change can grow. Presenting alongside a diverse range of speakers, together we showcased areas of public policy, social enterprise, international business and elite sport, showing how every single person can be a change agent in shaping how people with disabilities are included in society.
London 2012 Paralympics received more sponsorship and viewers than any previous Paralympics and changed how millions of people around the world perceived athletes with disabilities. Dave Malone Head of Paralympic Swimming at Paralympics Ireland took to the stage on Monday evening. Dave has delivered 14 international medals including two gold at London 2012 and a record-breaking eight medals at this summer’s World Championships. Prior to this, he competed for Ireland at four Paralympic Games, winning medals in his favoured 100m backstroke event at Atlanta 1996 (silver), Sydney 2000 (gold) and Athens 2004 (silver).
While there are an estimated 600,000 people with disabilities in Ireland, it is important to acknowledge and support family members of people with disabilities. In 2012, Claire Murphy co-founded LEAP. Claire will shared her story on Monday, outlining why she believes that families who have a family member with a disability need to be supported to be the creators and drivers of their own destiny. LEAP develops a personalised support roadmap to navigate life stages without imposing its own goals or solutions.
Challenging Conventional Thinking
A personal hero of mine, Mark Pollock a worldwide expert in smashing expectations and on Monday he challenged conventional thinking on disability. Unbroken by blindness at 22, Mark competed in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including an epic 2 month expedition race to the South Pole. He won silver and bronze rowing in the Commonwealth Games. In July 2010, a tragic fall left him paralysed. Mark is now living his own lessons, a pioneer exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery.
Unleashing the Value of One Billion
Ireland is home to a global business movement kick started by the social enterprise Kanchi, which works to unleash the value of the one billion people in the world with a disability. Having been involved with Kanchi for 10 years, on Monday I had the chance to share how we have created an opportunity for business and an opportunity for people with disabilities. This is the business case for including people with disabilities as customers, employees and members of the community, not because it’s the right thing to do but because it makes business sense.
It’s a simple concept, if we change the way business and media leadership engaged with disability society will naturally follow. People with disabilities will be more included, employed, retained and will have access to products and services that provide a way of life many of us take for granted. At the same time the business community will be able to engage with a wider talent and customer pool through inclusive policies and practices.
People form perceptions at a rate of 180 miles an hour and it goes against our natural human instinct to change this perception once it has been formed. Before I found out I was legally blind I made up the 80% of people that thought a disability was a wheelchair or physical impairment. My own thinking on disability has changed dramatically over the last 13 years because of the support and encouragement I received. I was always told “You can do anything”, my friends and family never defined me by my disability because the focus was on my ability and potential. Our workplaces, sports clubs and communities will benefit greatly if every single person had that same sense of belief instilled in them irrespective of difference or disability. The first step to creating a society where every single person is valued for their ability and contribution is getting people to think differently about disability.
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is proud to partner with Guinness in the launch of a new cultural initiative called the Arthur Guinness Projects – an initiative which sets out to invest in Ireland’s creators, visionaries and innovators across four areas of creativity and culture: Music, Sport, Arts and Food.
The Arthur Guinness Projects will invest €3 million in people over the next three years through a funding, mentoring and promotional support programme, with up to 20 projects benefiting annually.
The Arthur Guinness Projects Panel has been created to choose the overall winning projects, but also to provide mentoring and support to the overall winners. Comprised of 16 experts, four within each category, the panel will be spearheaded by world-renowned Irish band, The Script, food guru, Dylan McGrath, Donegal inter-county manager and sports consultant, Jim McGuinness and celebrated Irish actor, Chris O’ Dowd.
The general public will vote online for the projects that they would most like to see come to life during the application period and up until the 23rd August, 2013. The top 10% of applications in each category, as voted by the public, will be reviewed by the Arthur Guinness Projects Panel who will then choose the overall winning projects. Additionally, there will be a wild card element to the process. The Arthur Guinness Projects panel can choose from the pool of projects that did not make the top 10% in their respective categories, and award up to four wild card projects.
In determining successful applicants, the expert panel will be looking for projects that will inspire everyone across the island of Ireland; those that deliver on innovation, creativity, achievability, as well as cultural and social good.
More information on this initiative, and full details on how to apply, can be found at www.arthurguinnessprojects.com
Those who knew David Manley could not fail to be impressed by his vision, dynamism and courteousness – a man who got his priorities right and covered an astonishing range of ground in both his business and private interests. Following his passing in 2002, a group of friends and colleagues, with the help of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin Business Innovation Centre, Business to Arts and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, decided to honour David’s work and retain the admirable way in which he inspired others during his life.
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is delighted once again to partner with the David Manley Awards – established to nurture Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit in the business, arts and social spheres. To date, the David Manley Awards have provided almost €1 million in support to high-potential emerging entrepreneurs.
The overall winner of the David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards will receive €100,000 in mentoring and support, plus a €10,000 cash prize. Each category winner will also receive €1,000 in cash. In addition, each of the nine shortlisted entrepreneurs (three from the arts, business and social categories) will also receive free payroll and accounts software, and mentoring support from Enterprise Ireland’s Mentor Network.
If your organisation is operating in the business, arts or social spheres, and has been in operation for between one and three years, check out http://www.davidmanleyawards.ie for further details. The deadline for applications to their 2014 awards is Friday 6th September 2013.
Finalists Announced in 2013 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards
8 Innovative Organisations to Compete for €500,000 Cash, plus an Additional €250,000 in Support
The eight finalists in the 2013 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Awards, sponsored by DCC, have been announced at a reception in Dublin today. The Awards celebrate and support Ireland’s brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs with game changing ideas to solve the social problems facing Ireland.
The finalists are; John Evoy of Irish Men’s Sheds Association, Krystian Fikert of MyMind, Natasha & Toby Haslam Hopwood of The Galtee Clinic, Peter Johnson of Jobnet, Graham Jones of Solas Project, John Kearney of Irish Community Rapid Response, Brian McCormick of Adtruism and Mags Mullarney of Move4Parkinson’s. Each of the eight social entrepreneurs head young organisations that are employing innovative approaches to help effectuate major social change in Ireland in areas as diverse as healthcare, local emergency services, unemployment, charity fundraising, the children’s care system and the prison and probation system.
The finalists will now embark upon a three month programme of support and evaluation, designed to help them to clearly define the problem they are trying to address and refine their solution. They will receive in depth support and professional consultation before the announcement of the 2013 Award winners in October. Three Social Entrepreneurs will be awarded the top level “Impact Award” and €130,000 in direct funding with over €70,000 worth of support over two years. A further five will receive the “Elevator Award” and €22,000 in direct funding with over €10,000 worth of support over one year.
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.
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