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Social Entrepreneurs Ireland


Failure or Success?

Posted by on April 22, 2014


Recently we’ve been updating the profiles of Alumni to detail how their projects developed after their time with SEI, and where they are now. Many are still involved in their original projects, while others achieved what they intended and moved on to other things. Some projects however encountered difficulties with sustainability, and did not achieve their original goals.

Success and failure go hand in hand, but the latter is not often something we are willing to talk about or share. It should be. When something does not go as planned, it presents a huge learning opportunity to all involved, and is only worth nothing if it is not shared.

The thing to note here is that regardless of outcomes, none of these enterprises should be classified entirely as a failure, at least not in the usual sense. A for-profit business measures its success in terms of the continuous creation of capital; if it fails to do this and does not keep up with competitors it goes out of business. The measure of success with a charity or social enterprise, in contrast, is its social impact and what it manages to achieve, regardless of how long it stays in operation or how much money it happens to make.  Wealth creation is of course a part of social entrepreneurship, but more as a means to an end, which is to create a sustainable enterprise with accomplishes predefined social goals.

Regardless of whether or not Alumni projects had the impact hoped for, they took a chance at trying to make change happen in Ireland, and that has value in itself. People enjoy success stories, and there is no doubt that they can provide a source of motivation. However, it is the stories where success only came after a number of failures, and where the very definition of success changed along the way, which can inspire.

At SEI, we acknowledge the risk of failure as inherent to the process of supporting social entrepreneurs. The success rate of Alumni projects from the Elevator Programme is generally about 55%, while that of the Impact Programme is about 80%. If you want to support the ideas that excite, the ideas that change Ireland and the ideas that really have the potential to make a huge difference, you have to put up with the reality that not all of them will succeed. We as a sector should make every effort not to hide away from that, as it is a natural part of the social entrepreneurship narrative.

By sharing failure, we all stand to gain from the perspectives of similar people working towards common goals. If we do not tell these stories, we might mistake the world as being made of shining stars much more capable than we perceive ourselves to be, rather than the reality of a rich landscape of many talented, inspired individuals who are earning their success one failure at a time.


2014 Awards Officially Open

Posted by on April 1, 2014

2014 Awards Officially Open

Applications Now Open for €600,000 Awards Programme

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny encourages social entrepreneurs to apply

Do you or someone you know have a great idea to change Ireland for the better? We have €420,000 in cash plus in-kind supports worth €180,000 available to Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs. We are looking for innovative ideas and new solutions to some of Ireland’s social and environmental problems.

The Awards consist of two separate programmes of support; the Impact Programme and the Elevator Programme. Together these programmes cater for projects at various stages of development. The deadline for applications is Monday 28th April at 5pm.

We were delighted to have An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny launch the 2014 Awards. At the launch he said: “Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is a dynamic, innovative organisation which empowers people from all over Ireland to make a real difference in their community and beyond. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank SEI for their contribution to Irish society over the last ten years and to encourage people to apply for the 2014 Awards.” 

This year we are holding a number of Information Evenings across the country. See the links below for full details of the roadshow and to register for your local event.

Limerick, 3rd April - http://bit.ly/1phBNPy
Galway, 4th April - http://bit.ly/1g7RQPw
Longford, 7th April - http://bit.ly/1g7RZ5p 
Belfast, 15th April - http://bit.ly/1moHXNP

Full details of the application process, eligibility criteria and an overview guide can be found online at www.socialentrepreneurs.ie

Help us spread the word by  tweeting the following

Twitter : €600,000 in support available for social entrepreneurs in Ireland from @SEIreland, apply here http://bit.ly/SEIawards #SEIawards #socent

Alternatively you can share this blog post on Facebook,LinkedIn or Google+


Best Wishes,
The Team at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Charity, social enterprise and for-profit

Posted by on March 21, 2014

Charity, social enterprise and for-profitDefinitions

Charity, social enterprise and for-profit

With the launch of this year’s selection process we are already getting a few questions from potential applicants asking whether we support for-profit organisations, whether we just support charities and what our take on social enterprise is. Having pulled together some brief answers on this in our FAQs, we thought it might be good to explain some of our reasoning and thinking here in more detail.

Our current offerings for this are based on our latest strategy (full details of which will be revealed shortly!).

Ultimately at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland what we care about is that the best ideas for social change get the right support to help them to succeed. That is our vision. And in that context it doesn’t really matter to us whether the organisation is a charity, a social enterprise or a for-profit. Each of these models have different advantages and disadvantages associated with them, but all three models have the potential to make a positive social impact in Ireland.

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Hireland – The people power behind the movement

Posted by on March 12, 2014

Hireland – The people power behind the movementLucy Masterson

2012 award winner Hireland are going from strength to strength with their new campaign. Here, Sybil Cope project manager with Hireland tells us  about their recent success and how to get involved.

A recent brush with social media mania reminded Hireland of the overwhelming people-power that exists in Ireland

Our 2014 Hireland campaign started with a flurry of positivity from our social media blast. Within a few hours we were ‘trending’ in Dublin and then in Ireland. This brought a huge volume of traffic to our website, creating greater awareness of Hireland and more jobs being created. We were reminded of the overwhelming people-power that exists in Ireland. Indeed this collective positive spirit is being repeatedly demonstrated to us.

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Posted by on March 5, 2014

Jobcare/JobnetJenny and Beatriz

With our awards application opening date fast approaching 19th March (closing date 28th April), we decided to ask some previous awardees to share with us a few words. The aim of this is to hopefully inspire,and provide you with a better understanding of the type of work we support in Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. Here Peter Johnson of Jobnet, Elevator winner 2013,  speaks about the satisfaction he gets from his work.

Through the Glass Window and The Power of One

Jobnet is a programme that helps professionals and graduates market themselves effectively and network confidently to find employment. Helping people find work can be an immensely satisfying experience – something we would like to see more of here in Jobnet as 2014 progresses. It’s hard to beat the feeling when someone phones you to tell you they’ve found work or, better still, calls in to our offices to share their good news. Working really matters to people. It brings income, structure to the day and brings physical, mental and emotional satisfaction. Working positively impacts family life, friends, neighbours, and community acquaintances.  Working contributes financially to the overall economy.  Working matters.

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Ashoka Social and Business Co Creation Competition open for entries

Posted by on February 21, 2014

Ashoka Social and Business Co Creation Competition open for entries

The Ashoka Social & Business Co Creation Competition is open for entries.

Social & Business Co-Creation: collaboration for impact, Call for the most innovative Social & Business co-creation projects in Europe!

Ashoka, the Zermatt Summit Foundation, Foundation Guilé, DPD and Boehringer Ingelheim are launching an online collaborative competition, Social & Business Co-Creation: collaboration for impact to source, highlight and catalyze innovative Co-Creation projects in Europe led by social-mission organisations (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise), traditional businesses and public institutions. These projects will illustrate new forms of interaction between social and business to create shared social and economic value at scale. Read More

We love Entrepreneurs

Posted by on February 14, 2014

We love Entrepreneurs

Given the day that’s in it we thought it might be a good time to officially declare our love for entrepreneurs.

People often assume that our love affair with entrepreneurs extends only to the social variety. Just last week I met with a prominent Irish journalist to introduce him to the concept of social entrepreneurship. When I told him about my personal interest in the broader entrepreneurship sector in Ireland, he was shocked: “In my experience, people in the social sector dislike entrepreneurship”.

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Irish Social Enterprise Conference

Posted by on February 11, 2014

Irish Social Enterprise ConferenceIrish Social Enterprise Conference, 'Building on International Experience'

Irish Social Enterprise Conference

‘Building on International Experience’


Yesterday saw Social Entrepreneurs from all over Ireland gather in Red Cow Moran Hotel for the first of many events scheduled by ISEN, Irish Social Enterprise Network. The theme was ‘Building on International Experience’. Many of the speakers were from the UK, and spoke about their personal experience of social enterprise there, what worked and where they saw flaws.

The first speaker was Sara Burgess, CIC (Community Interest Company) Regulator; she spoke about how that business model worked in the UK, and how it could be implemented here. Next up was Laurence McBride from Far and Wild, who spoke very passionately about his outdoor adventure company. Chris Gordon then opened the floor to questions, which the panel addressed. Read More

BizWorld Ireland win ‘Emerging Social Entrepreneur’ Category at the David Manley Awards

Posted by on February 4, 2014

BizWorld Ireland win ‘Emerging Social Entrepreneur’ Category at the David Manley AwardsFiona McKeon of BizWorld Ireland with Darren Ryan from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

Congratulations to Fiona McKeon and all the team at BizWorld Ireland who won the ‘Emerging Social Entrepreneur’ Category at the David Manley Awards last week.

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We are hiring

Posted by on January 29, 2014

We are hiring

We are hiring

We are looking for 2 passionate driven people to join our team. Are you a self-starter interested in social change? If so, this could be for you. The positions being offered are:

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2012 Awards, 2013 Awards, Aviva Cohen, awards, Bono, Bookbuzz, Branding, Carer, change, charity, chronic illness, City of a Thousand Welcomes, Creative Writing, Dublin, Education, entrepreneurs, Fighting Words, GAA, GIY Ireland, impact, Jim Stynes, John Hume, Karl Swan, Mary McAleese, Michael Kelly, Neuro Hero, non-profit, 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

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, First Floor, The Warehouse, 35 Barrow St., Dublin 4, Ireland
Phone: +353 1 631 6200, Email: info@socialentrepreneurs.ie

Company No: 433846, Registered Charity No: CHY 17524, © SEI 2012

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