Third level students showcase new social entrepreneurship projects

Enactus Ireland event recognises students’ efforts to to support marginalised people in the community

Student finalists at last year’s Enactus Ireland event. The programme is aimed at celebrating social entreneurship among students.

Student finalists at last year’s Enactus Ireland event. The programme is aimed at celebrating social entreneurship among students.

 

Third-level students who have spent the past year involved in social projects which make positive change in the community are showcasing the impact of their work at an event in Dublin today.

Teams of students in colleges and universities have been involved in projects focused on civic engagement and supporting marginalised people such as refugees, ex-prisoners and people with intellectual disabilities.

The event is organised by Enactus Ireland, a charitable organisation, and will will culminate in the selection of a national champion team.

Students at NUI Galway have developed a training initiative for catering staff, enabling them to interact with individuals with communication difficulties.

The ‘Hear Me!’ project provides staff in the hospitality sector with the tools needed to engage effectively with people with communication disabilities. The team has partnered with the University Hospital Galway, training over 40 Aramark catering staff.

Second Scoop, a project by students at DCU, seeks to re-integrate former prisoners through employment.

It has partnered with Ben & Jerry’s and former prisoners to provide ice-cream for corporate events, festivals and fairs.

Tremedous understanding

Terence O’Rourke, chair of Enactus Ireland, said all the student teams involved this year have shown “tremendous understanding of how their entrepreneurial skills and talents can be used to bring about real change in their communities”.

He added: “Each team’s passion, determination and desire to transform lives is inspirational.”

Some previous Enactus projects have gone on to huge success including FoodCloud, a social enterprise that connects businesses that have surplus food with charities in their local community through a technology platform.

FoodCloud facilitated the redistribution of almost 1,500 tonnes of food, or the equivalent of more than 3.2 million meals.

Another previous winner in Generation Accommodation, that seeks to match individuals who cannot afford to pay rent with elderly people living alone.

The project, which recently merged with InHoming, a group doing similar work which was founded by Bill Liao, is set to launch later this summer with one full-time employee.

Enactus Ireland is part of a world-wide programme which brings together students, academics and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to solve community challenges.

Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects.

For more information on Enactus, visit: enactusireland.org