Social Entrepreneurs Ireland launches 2012 awards programme
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has launched its 2012 awards programme – which will see three winners receiving €200,000 each in support – with a call for applications from individuals who are developing new, big ideas to address the social and environmental challenges currently being faced in Ireland.
The awards are sponsored by DCC and will be presented in October, when three social entrepreneurs will share €600,000 in funding and support to help them grow and scale their impact.
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. The closing date for applications is Thursday 16 February. 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, during which 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 funding these individuals. According to the organisation, these in turn have directly impacted over 170,000 people and created over 800 employment opportunities.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s programme, 2011 award winner Michael Kelly from GIY Ireland said the support from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has been a game-changer for his organisation. “I’ve always felt that being involved with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is like having access to the mothership of all motherships,” he said. “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.”
Kelly 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.
Last year’s winners also included former Amnesty Ireland director Seán Love for creative writing centre Fighting Words, which he devised together with writer Roddy Doyle. In just over two years, using over 400 volunteers, the centre has hosted more than 26,000 students of all ages in workshops in fiction writing, film-making, song writing and graphic novels.
Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating were also awarded €200,000 for Women for Election, which inspires and equips women to succeed in politics in order to bring balance to Irish political representation.
“In previous years we have been overwhelmed by the calibre of applications we have received, and we expect 2012 to reveal even better applicants,” said Seán Coughlan, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland chief executive.
“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.