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.

Episode 1: Housing affects everything that we do - a conversation with social entrepreneur Hugh Brennan, co-founder of Ó Cualann Co-housing Alliance

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.

Episode 2: It’s so much more than food – it’s community and coming together - a conversation with social entrepreneurs Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, co-founders of FoodCloud

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.

Episode 3 -Men will come up and tell us their lives have not just been improved, but transformed, by Men’s Sheds - a conversation with social entrepreneur, Barry Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Men's Shed Association

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.

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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