The Ideas Academy is for people who have identified a social problem and have an idea to help solve it.

Participants on this programme receive training and support in key areas of importance to idea-stage social entrepreneurs such as how to develop your idea, pilot it, and set up your project. Over a number of core learning days between June and September 2020, the Ideas Academy will help you to take those first steps to move from idea to action.

We have re-designed the programme in recent weeks to run the programme online and transition to in-person delivery, if and when in-person delivery is possible during the lifespan of the programme.

Apply Now Download 2020 Applicant Guide

In 2020 the Ideas Academy will be delivered online with groups in the East, West, and South of Ireland. Together with a small group of fellow innovators, you will receive:

Training & Support

Our core learning days will provide training and support to help you build your knowledge and skills in key foundational areas of leading a social business such as design thinking, solution generation, governance, and piloting. This will help you to more fully interrogate the social problem, refine the solution and model, and give you the skills and knowledge needed to pilot and test your idea.

A Powerful Community

As members of Ireland’s largest network of social entrepreneurs and to support you at the early stage of your journey, you will receive peer mentorship and access to networking opportunities. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland consultants will also offer guidance and support to help you move from idea to action.

€40,000 seed fund

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is delighted to announce the addition of a €40,000 seed fund for our 2020 Ideas Academy programme. Participants will have the opportunity to apply to pitch for a portion of the funding at the end of the programme to invest in their/your idea.
“We needed support and we needed direction. The
Ideas Academy helped us with both and crystallised our idea.”

Tanya McGarry


Ideas Academy Participant 2017
Be it a visit to a new restaurant, cinema or hair salon, any new experience can cause a huge amount of anxiety for some people, particularly those with additional needs. Not knowing what to expect, or what is expected of you, when accessing an ordinary community service can cause such anxiety that it leads to social isolation and unnecessary stress on both the individual and those who support them.

With her extensive experience in the disability sector, and personal experience of this issue, Caitriona’s idea was to help people to ‘visit and experience’ a place before actually going there, through visual storyboards and sequential video modelling. She knew that preparation in this way could be the difference between community inclusion or isolation.

Since participating in The Ideas Academy, Caitriona is rolling out the first pilot of PrepareMe, with funding won through The Ideas Academy and KBC Bright Ideas. She hopes, through this pilot, to make Athenry the first Additional Needs-Friendly town in Ireland, providing people with the confidence they need to take up all of life’s experiences, no matter their needs.

“The Ideas Academy has been life changing for me. I have achieved things that I never considered I might be able to do. The team in SEI have been exceptional beyond belief.”

Caitriona Watters-Crehan, PrepareMe

Please see below the applicant guide for The Ideas Academy Programme to ensure you fully understand how the selection process works, the eligibility criteria and what to expect from the programme.
Apply Now Download 2020 Applicant Guide
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