Social entrepreneurs awarded more than €240,000 in funding and support to change Ireland for the better at SEI Awards
Farm safety, property theft, remote working, anxiety among young people, bullying in school and more equal access to secondary school grinds are the social issues tackled by the winners of the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Awards, supported by DCC plc. The six organisations, which address social problems through innovative solutions, have each won a place on the SEI Awards programme and will take an equal share of the €120,000 funding, alongside an additional €120,000 worth of non-financial support to help transform their projects. The announcement was made at the SEI Awards Celebration at the Mansion House, Dublin 2.
The SEI Awards programme identifies high-potential social entrepreneurs and supports them through significant funding and mentoring, as well as providing access to a network of support. Since its foundation in 2004, SEI has supported more than 300 social entrepreneurs, who in turn have impacted the lives of more than 1.7 million people across Ireland. The 2019 Awards programme attracted 120 applications from across Ireland, with 40 applicants making it through to a bootcamp in Croke Park in May. Twelve of those made it to the finalist stage in June and the opportunity to pitch for one of six places on the programme.
The six Social Entrepreneurs Ireland 2019 Awardees are:
- Alma Jordan – AgriKids: AgriKids is a farm safety education programme that aims to engage, educate, and empower children to be farm safety ambassadors through classroom resources, interactive workshops, storybooks, and a child-friendly game app. It is unique in creating safety materials exclusively about children, designed to be consumed by children. Alma is from Kildare and is based in Meath.
- James O’Neill – Property Marking Ireland: Property Marking Ireland is a community-led crime prevention initiative. It uses a combined strategy to deter crime through a mixture of marking goods and property with a specially designed machine and large signage. James is from Westmeath and is based in Tipperary.
- Tracy Keogh – Grow Remote: Grow Remote works to end the rural emigration that is depleting the Irish countryside. By connecting users with remote working positions and local remote working communities, Grow Remote is strengthening the remote economy in towns throughout the country. Tracy is based in Galway.
- David Neville and Pádraic Hogan – jumpAGrade: jumpAGrade employs an innovative online model for the provision of secondary school grinds, allowing every student the opportunity to get the tutoring support they need to succeed. David and Pádraic are based in Limerick.
- Boris Hunka – The Ease Project: The Ease Project is a programme aimed at recognising, normalising and treating anxiety in students. The Ease Project delivers interactive workshops that combine music with visuals to explore what anxiety is, the various ways it manifests, and how it can be managed. Boris is based in Limerick.
- Dr Maria Garvey – Helping Hands: Helping Hands is an anti-bullying programme that provides schools with the tools and training to enable teachers to identify and prevent bullying before it can start. Maria is from Meath and is based in Dublin.
Speaking at the announcement, CEO of SEI, Darren Ryan said: “Over the past 15 years, SEI has led the way in identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs in Ireland. The calibre of the 120 applicants to the Awards programme this year is testament to fact that there are social entrepreneurs in every community across the country. What is most inspiring is people aren’t just coming up with new ideas, they are working tirelessly to put them into action.
“The courage, ambition, energy and commitment demonstrated by the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardees to solving the social problems they have identified is truly inspiring. From life in the classroom to life on the farm, from helping communities across Ireland to protect their property, to connecting workers across Ireland working remotely, this year’s Awardees are already starting to change Ireland for the better. I look forward to seeing these six projects evolve into highly impactful, effective, scalable, and sustainable organisations, and wish to congratulate the Awardees on their efforts so far.”
DCC plc, the international sales, marketing and support services group founded and headquartered in Dublin, is the flagship supporter of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards programme. Chief Executive of DCC plc, Donal Murphy said: “DCC plc is a longstanding supporter of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. We are proud of the relationship forged by both organisations over the last nine years. From its own beginnings as a dynamic start-up, to its enduring entrepreneurial spirit, DCC shares many similar qualities with SEI, and this had led to a strong and sustained partnership.
“Like any country, Ireland has its share of social issues. We take heart that there are so many social entrepreneurs out there who are willing to roll up their sleeves and face these issues head on with courage and ingenuity and we are delighted to play our part in supporting them. I would like to congratulate this year’s Awardees and all who applied to the Awards Programme, and look forward to seeing their projects thrive and grow.”