Social Entrepreneurs awards launched

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has launched their 2012 Awards Programme, sponsored by DCC plc, with a call for applications from individuals in Offaly and nationwide who are developing new, big ideas to address the social and environmental challenges we face in Ireland. Over 200 applications were received last year, with Offaly well represented among the applicants.

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has launched their 2012 Awards Programme, sponsored by DCC plc, with a call for applications from individuals in Offaly and nationwide who are developing new, big ideas to address the social and environmental challenges we face in Ireland. Over 200 applications were received last year, with Offaly well represented among the applicants.

This year, €600,000 in funding and support will be presented to three award winners at the awards in October to help them grow and scale the impact that they are having in Ireland.

The awards will also support a further five individuals to the value of €35,000 each under the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland ‘Elevator Programme’.

The call for applications is the start of an extensive eight month consultation and engagement process which will culminate in the announcement of the Award Winners in the autumn.

The closing date for applications is Thursday, February. 16 The selection process will include a ‘Bootcamp’ in March where shortlisted candidates will be invited to pitch their projects, leading to interviews from which eight finalists will be chosen.

The finalists will then take part in a three month ‘Finalists Programme’ where they will receive some funding and support prior to final selection of the 2012 Award Winners in October.

Since 2005, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has provided support to 150 social entrepreneurs, directly investing over €4m into supporting these exceptional individuals. These in turn have directly impacted over 170,000 people and created over 800 employment opportunities.

Speaking at the launch, 2011 Award Winner Michael Kelly from GIY Ireland spoke of the difference that the Impact Programme has made to his organisation.

“The support from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has been a game-changer for GIY Ireland. I’ve always felt that being involved with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is like having access to the mothership of all motherships. The Impact Programme challenges me at every turn, makes me work smarter and think bigger. It inspires, rewards and connects us up with an incredible array of leading experts and advisors.”

The 2011 winners were Seán Love of Fighting Words, a creative writing centre that is the brainchild of Seán, a former director of Amnesty Ireland, and writer Roddy Doyle. The second winner was Michael Kelly who set up GIY Ireland in 2009, to transform the nation’s wellbeing, strengthen communities and protect the environment by helping people to grow their own food. T

he third winners to be awarded €200,000 were Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating of Women for Election. They inspire and equip women to succeed in politics in order to bring balance to Irish political representation.

Launching the 2012 Social Impact Programme and the call for applications Seán Coughlan, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Chief Executive said, “In previous years we have been overwhelmed by the calibre of applications we have received, and we expect 2012 to reveal even better applicants. The main criteria is a passion for making a difference, thinking big and using business skills for social change. We really believe that together we can change Ireland and the impact of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland over the past seven years has proved that”.

Applications for the 2012 Awards Programme must be made online at www.socialentrepreneurs.ie, where full details on the application process, eligibility criteria and the Awards Programme are available.