Our Vision

An Ireland where people solve every social problem.

Our Mission

Find people with solutions to social problems and support them on every step of their journey.

Our story

The idea emerged in an unusual context. It was 2004 and the Irish economy was booming. More resources than ever before were flowing towards tackling our social challenges. Yet behind the scenes, and for those living on the margins of society, change wasn’t coming fast enough. Poverty, social inequality, the lack of adequate health services and the poor understanding of mental health – to name but a few – were problems that economic prosperity seemed to be bypassing.

We didn’t just need more resources to solve these social challenges, we needed new ideas. In the commercial world there is a well understood approach to bringing about change when change is hard. It is called entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs drive new ideas and create new products, disrupting existing industries and eradicating inefficiencies. In 2004 the huge value that commercial entrepreneurs contributed to our economic development was widely celebrated, but the potential of entrepreneurship in the social sector remained largely underdeveloped.

And so, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland was born. The first organisation in Ireland dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurs, people who were developing new, innovative solutions to address the entrenched social and environmental challenges we face. Initially funded by co-founder Declan Ryan (via The One Foundation), the organisation today remains entirely privately funded by a wide range of prominent entrepreneurs, business leaders and corporates in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

What We Do

Our mission is to find people with solutions to social problems and support them on every step of their journey. Over the past 15 years, we have supported more than 300 social entrepreneurs through our support programmes.

We walk the path with a social entrepreneur from the moment they have an idea through to when they solve the problem at scale. Our support programmes are anchored to our three strategic pillars – STEP, LEAP, SOAR.

We support social entrepreneurs on every step of their journey.


We know that the first step of the journey is often the hardest one to take. We support social entrepreneurs from idea stage through to pilot stage.


When a social entrepreneur has taken the first steps, the following stage often requires a leap of faith. We support social entrepreneurs as they navigate this risky part of the journey.


For social entrepreneurs who have developed a scalable model, we help them to develop themselves and their organisations to deliver impact at scale through bespoke financial and non-financial supports.

“It has been an unimagined growth experience for me and for the VCC.
I am part of a community of social entrepreneurs and I have learned so much from the SEI team and from the other Awardees.”

Liz Waters

Virtual Community College - 2014 Awardee

Get to know Us

We have a dedicated team at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland who are committed to helping social entrepreneurs succeed.

Meet The Team

Board of Directors

Paul Rellis

Former CEO of Microsoft Ireland

Caroline Keeling

CEO, Keelings

Julie Sinnamon

CEO, Enterprise Ireland

Chairman of the Board

Tommy Breen

Former CEO of DCC plc

Brian MacCraith

President, Dublin City University

Julian Yarr

Managing Partner, A&L Goodbody

Teresa Harrington

Former Partner, PwC

Iseult Ward

CEO, FoodCloud

“For the modest amount of funds they have had to
deploy, SEI has made an incredible difference in helping
solve some of society’s challenges.”

John Duffy
SEI Supporter and Board Director

How we’re funded

Individual and Corporate Supporters

We couldn’t do what we do without the support of these organisations, entrepreneurs and business leaders from across Ireland, the UK and USA. They are as passionate about supporting social entrepreneurs as we are.

Individual Supporters

Our community of individual supporters unites business leaders in Ireland, the UK and USA with social entrepreneurs in our community with the goal of driving significant change in Ireland.
Our individual supporters provide a combination of direct funding, skills and expertise to advance the work of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and the community that we support.

We would like to give special thanks to our Major Donors and Leadership Circle supporters listed below. We would also like to acknowledge and thank those who wish for their support to remain anonymous .

David Bobbett

Evelyn Bourke &

Vanessa Byrnes

Michael Caulfield

Kip & Peggy Condron

Seamus Creedon

Alison Cowzer

Faye Drouillard

John Duffy

Harry & Susan Hartford

Garrett Hayes

Maurice Healy

Conor Hillery

Adrian Jones

Roger Jupp

Michael Lee

Brian McCormick

Garry Moroney

James Muldowney

Bart Murphy

Shane Naughton

Barry O'Brien

Niall O'Brien

Sheila O'Malley & Joe Fuchs

Sheelagh O'Neill

Eamonn Quinn

Jim & Diane Quinn

John Rafter

Colin & Nikki Ryan

We would like to also thank our Join the Journey supporters. Through monthly and once off donations this committed community continuously backs our social entrepreneurs and gives them the courage to persevere. If you are interested in supporting Ireland's leading social entrepreneurs please click the button below.
Support us

Through our programmes we provide
funding, mentoring and direct support
to high-potential social entrepreneurs
and their projects

Find Out More