Social entrepreneurs receive funding to help support initiatives

Projects range from sustainability and home sharing to mental health awareness

Eight social entrepreneurs have been recognised at the 2018 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards in the Mansion House in Dublin, receiving funding to help support the initiatives.

The winning projects range from sustainability and home sharing for elderly people to mental health awareness and projects to help those with special needs. The awards, which are in their 14th year, aim to support enterprises that have ideas to help solve social problems.

Among the eight projects chosen this year were: Change By Degrees, which aims to provide information on convenient sustainability and encouraging people to make positive changes; Refill Ireland, which aims to reduce single use plastic water bottles; First Fortnight, which is challenging the stigma surrounding mental health using arts and culture; My Streets, which provides people affected by homelessness the opportunity to act as a tour guide of the streets; Speech at Home, a speech therapy method for children with cleft palate that can be delivered at home; Prepare Me,  which creates resources to prepare children and adults with additional needs for everyday activities. The final two projects, Elder Home Share and the Abhaile Project, are targeted at older homeowners, with the latter modifying family homes to better suit their needs, and the former matching people seeking affordable accommodation with older people living alone.

Three former winners were also selected for further funding from SEI, with autism community project AsIAm, online safety group CyberSafe Ireland and community organisation Irish Men’s Sheds to receive €155,000 in direct funding from SEI, along with other supports.


"Our 2018 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland awardees are ambitious, driven people, with innovative solutions to Ireland's social problems," said chief executive of SEI, Darren Ryan. "We feel that it is crucial as a nation, to find solutions to the gaps that exist in our services in Ireland, and we want to support the social entrepreneurs aiming to fill those gaps."

Funding of more than €7 million has been channelled through SEI in the 14 years of the awards. The investment, from private sector donors, is matched by non-financial support of more than €2 million that consists of coaching, mentoring, business development, training and other support from corporate organisations. The awards are sponsored by DCC, which has pledged to back the initiative until 2021.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist