Our Podcast

On The Social Entrepreneurs Podcast we meet with some of Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs and share their stories of bringing about change in Ireland.

What lead these ordinary people to do extraordinary things? What has their journey been like as a social entrepreneur? And what are their ambitions for the future?

In each episode, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland tries to unpick the answers, to highlight the incredible impact that these people are having in Ireland and to inspire anybody out there with an idea to take action.

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Ep. 1: Hugh Brennan of Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance "Housing affects everything that we do" Hugh

In this episode Darren speaks with Hugh Brennan, social entrepreneur and co-founder of Ó Cualann Co-housing Alliance. Ó Cualann builds affordable, integrated and co-operative housing in communities across Ireland. They discuss the journey that led to Ó Cualann being created, the importance of affordable housing in Ireland today, and the challenges of scaling their model and their impact. Hugh is currently part of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Scale Partnership programme, and was an SEI Awardee in 2017.

Ep. 2: Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien of FoodCloud “It’s not just food – it’s community.”

In this episode, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland speaks with Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, co-founders of FoodCloud and SEI alumni. This social enterprise matches businesses with surplus food to local charities and community groups across Ireland, and has begun to expand internationally. They discuss the journey that led to FoodCloud; from early disappointments to accelerating successes and why food is so much more than food. Iseult is currently a member of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland board, and both she and Aoibheann are incredibly important members of our community.

Ep. 3: Barry Sheridan of The Irish Men’s Sheds Association “We’re transforming, not just improving, men’s lives”

In this episode Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland speaks with Barry Sheridan, CEO of The Irish Men’s Sheds Association, the member-based organization which exists to maintain links and share information among the network of Men’s Sheds in Ireland. They discuss the perfect storm which started sheds in Ireland, how coronavirus is impacting the sheds and the intergenerational future of the programme.

Ep. 4: Tammy Darcy of The Shona Project "You can always turn your life around”

In this episode, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland speaks with Tammy Darcy, founder of the Shona Project, a platform and movement aiming to educate, empower and inspire Ireland’s young women. They talk about how trauma can be overcome and engaged with, the power of ‘yet’ and why each person’s life always matters.

Ep. 5: Adam Harris of AsIAm “Normal doesn’t exist”

This week, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland talks to Adam Harris, CEO and founder of AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, which aims to give a voice and platform to Ireland’s autistic community. They talk about Adam’s experiences growing up and what pushed him to found AsIAm, the sea-change in Ireland, and building towards a connected and inclusive society.

Ep. 6: Caitriona Watters-Crehan of Prepare Me "It's all about Empathy"

“For true inclusion, society needs to conform to the needs of all of its citizens, not just the needs of a typical person”. This week, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Caitriona Watters-Crehan talk about how not everyone’s first language is the spoken word, teaching empathy, and doing the next right thing that’s in front of you. Caitriona is the founder of Prepare Me, which creates resources for children and adults with additional needs for everyday experiences that are often incredibly stressful for them.

Ep. 7: Alma Jordan of AgriKids "We are all writing the handbook on social entrepreneurship, and tomorrow’s pages are still blank’"

This week, Darren and Alma chat about the impact of COVID-19 on our farming families, her journey as a social entrepreneur and how children are the most impactful voices on farms. AgriKids operate on the belief that by educating and empowering young children, they become farm safety ambassadors and bring the farm safety message home, having a positive impact on their parents, grandparents and extended family.

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.

Support us

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

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