Jenny 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.
The continuing scale of the unemployment problem often makes us wonder if what we do makes any difference. But last week we got the privilege of witnessing the difference it makes to one person. Beatriz, a graduate of Jobnet was despairing of finding work. From Spain, her English did not yet match up to potential employers’ expectations. On Monday morning we introduced her to a representative from a leading direct marketing company,FMI. Beatriz put her newly learned networking skills to good use and got invited to a seminar at the company’s offices last Saturday. Our team was there to recruit for Jobnet and so we got to see what happened next. Beatriz managed to get an interview on the spot. And we couldn’t resist taking a sneak peek through the glass window as the interview progressed! Then, interview successfully completed, we were able to join in the celebrations as “Beatriz was welcomed into the company.
The power of one!
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. Competition entries can cover a wide range of solutions: from innovative job creation schemes, to the development of new products and services to address essential needs of underserved populations or “last mile” solutions to make these accessible to all. At the core of each project should be the potential to create a more inclusive and human economy, change organisational structures and enable professionals at all levels to become engaged change makers who turn problems into opportunities.
All social-mission organisations, businesses and public institutions who work together to create change in Europe can apply. The competition deadline is April 10, 2014. The winners will receive coaching and €40,000 in prizes, and will be featured in prominent media. The prizes will be awarded at the Zermatt Summit on June 27th, 2014.
To enter now, please go to: www.changemakers.com/co-creation
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”.
I guess he presumed that I would think that social entrepreneurs are better than regular ol’ entrepreneurs.
But the truth is that at SEI we just love entrepreneurship. We love the process of bringing ideas to fruition. We love the entrepreneur who is filled with passion for their organisation. We love the vision that entrepreneurs have for a brighter future. We love their attitude and the way they see solutions where others only see problems. We love their refusal to play by the rules. And we love their ability to make the seemingly impossible a reality.
And whether they are social, commercial or art entrepreneurs, each one we’ve met is driven by a relentless desire to change the world. To bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. To have an impact. At Social Entrepreneurs Ireland we choose to work with just a subset of these entrepreneurs, individuals who come up with new solutions to social problems. We see them as a critical element in the development of an effective and efficient social sector. Every day they inspire and amaze us.
But today we want to forget the sectoral split and share the love with all entrepreneurs across Ireland.
Irish 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.
The emphasis was on networking, the path of a social entrepreneur can be a lonely one and it seems that ISEN recognise that. Throughout the event, we were encouraged to turn to the person on our left, to our right, in front and behind us and introduce ourselves and our organisations.
The twitter handle for the day was #isec14, and with so many in the room, live tweeting, we managed to get the conference trending. Chris Gordon made the interesting point that being engaged no longer means listening intently with undivided attention, now people want to see you on your smartphone and tablet, tweeting, that’s the new engagement.
Also speaking at the event were Mary Maher of Restaurant 1014 and Anne Bedos of Rothar. Both of whom spoke about their social enterprise, how they got started and the difficulties encountered. It was great hearing their experiences first hand and beneficial to any budding entrepreneur.
There were plenty of opportunities to get chatting to other entrepreneurs; lunch was informal to ensure free flowing conversation and plenty of networking.
For me, the highlight of the event was the world café event. The purpose of it was to hear first-hand, what members would like from ISEN. There were 5 tables, each with a separate topic to discuss. Each table was manned by a facilator and a scribe who took down all the key points. Everyone at the table was encouraged speak about their personal experience and what they would like from ISEN.
Not only did it give attendees the chance to be heard but also to make some meaningful connections. It was a great conference and we look forward to future events.
Fiona 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.
Bizworld Ireland is a group of educators and business people who have come together to inspire and empower children aged 10-13 to learn about money management, critical thinking and enterprise in a fun and creative way. They show students how they will benefit from entrepreneurship, gaining confidence to reach their goals and helping them become part of the next generation of innovators.
Read more about BizWorld at http://bizworldireland.ie/
The David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards were established to nurture Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit in Business, Arts and the Social Spheres. Since then, the awards have provided almost €1 million in support to high-potential emerging entrepreneurs. This has been in the form of cash supports but to a greater extent through the gift of time. The Awards are run with the support of Business to Arts, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Business Innovation Centres, Incubation Centres and Enterprise Support Agencies.
Congratulations to the finalists in the social category, Graham Jones of Solas Project and Giustina Mizzoni of CoderDojo/Hello World Foundation.
The overall winner of the David Manley Awards 2014 was The Little Museum of Dublin. Founders Trevor White and Simon O’Connor were awarded €10,000 in cash and over €100,000 worth of mentoring and consultancy services. They were presented with their Award by Dr. Chris Horn and Jordan Casey, a 14 year old entrepreneur, founder of TeachWare and at one stage, Apple’s youngest App developer in Europe! Trevor is a previous Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award Winner for his work on civic initiative ‘City of a Thousand Welcomes’.
Congrats to all of the finalists and best of luck to these emerging entrepreneurs over the course of 2014.
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:
Development Associate - Position Description
Reporting to our Head of Engagement, the purpose of the role is to support the development of a diverse and sustainable funding base for the work of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. Based in Dublin, the role would involve liaising with current and potential Social Entrepreneurs Ireland supporters, exploring a range of new fundraising opportunities, event management, and support with communications and media work.
Impact Associate - Position Description
Reporting to our Head of Impact, the primary purpose of the role is to provide support with the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland selection process as well as working directly with a number of our Awardees. In addition, the successful applicant will oversee the management of the Alumni Network as well as contributing to the organisation’s communications strategy.
For full details: http://socialentrepreneurs.ie/about/careers/
Tony Griffin co-founder of Soar, Impact winner 2012, shares with us his experience of getting his idea from ‘an idea’ to fruition.
Soar equips young people with inspiration and critical life skills, with a focus on prevention, that empower and ignite action. Soar creates and delivers innovative programmes for young people within a safe and supportive environment.
I have been asked to share my experience of bringing an idea to fruition in the hope that it may help you as you navigate your own personal odyssey. I am not going to outline the ‘What’ that Karl Swan and I have co-created in collaboration with many others over the last two years. What I am going to do is outline the emotional experience over that time and offer some practical things I have learned. But in the spirit of Joseph’s Campbell’s advice below – it would be much more advisable to find your own way:
The journey you are on will have many twists and turns and is not easy. It is undoubtedly the road less travelled. It has been the result of you answering your hearts call and so has no basis in logic and rational thought. Yes the problem you have identified in society may be obvious but the ‘How’ you are going to do something about it may not. This is as it should be. Continue to follow your heart and whatever it is that first stirred you, never lose that. Social change comes slowly and first you must be willing to change and grow yourself. It starts on the inside first. Inside you!
You don’t have to walk this road alone. I love surrounding myself with people who I feel good around who know more than me and have more experience than me (this happens a lot). Much of the answers you seek others have already found. Ask them for advice; buy them a cup of coffee, while always respecting their time. Come prepared with the key questions you have or where your project is struggling and then just LISTEN.
We have found that money is just one currency. Others are as important if not more important to your long term viability and success. Love, kindness, connections, friendship, knowledge, experience, a sense of humour. It’s not all about the money or your funding. The people I have encountered are inspired by what we are doing for young people and get as much nourishment from the conversations as I do wisdom. So recognise that what you carry within you is felt by other people. The bravery and courage you have found to walk this less travelled road emits a certain something people love to be around.
The ego has a sneaky way of having us think we must compete in order to help the people we want to help. It’s not a competition for resources or anything else. Just believe in your approach and realise none of us have all the answers. It will take all of us contributing our piece to create true and lasting change on earth
And lastly, be kind. I mean to yourself. Being kind to yourself means standing in front of the mirror on those mornings when you are feeling less than your best self and asking the person looking back at you “What do you need from me today”. Sometimes the answer will be to go for a long walk in the woods or to go to the movies on your own. Practise this even if it feels like you ‘should’ send another email.
To all of you, the very best of luck. At times your project will test you to your very core. This is as true in the early stages as it is when you are more established.
Just stay the course. And ….when you set out on your voyage, I hope your voyage is a long one. Full of adventure, full of discovery.
“You enter the forest at its darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or a path it’s someone else’s path. It is not your path, this only you can find” – Joseph Campbell
- Tony Griffin
2013 has been another great year for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, and as it draws to a close we’re already making plans for an even better 2014! As always, a new year brings with it a new search for potential social entrepreneurs and a fresh opportunity to hear about the incredible projects making a difference throughout Ireland.
As an organisation we are constantly looking at ways to improve the support we offer. With this in mind 2014 will see a number of new developments in how we select and support those with the most potential to change Ireland.
One of these developments is the streamlining of our selection process, meaning that the 2014 process will take place over a shorter period of time than before. As a result our call for applications will be taking place in March next year, rather than the usual January starting time. We’ll also be tweaking and evolving our Awards Programmes to deliver more focused and tailored supports to the social entrepreneurs we work with.
Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be providing a lot more detail on how our 2014 Awards will shape up, so keep an eye out for announcements and updates via email, on our website and of course on our social media pages. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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.
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