Dublin People

Northside social entrepreneur set to create change in Ireland

A therapeutic service for young transgender people founded by Sutton social entrepreneur Aoife Ryan is just one of the projects led by people across Ireland who today graduated from the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Ideas Academy.

Trans Teens Ireland aims to provide nationwide, low-cost therapeutic support to young transgender and nonbinary people and their families.

Now in its fifth year, SEI’s Ideas Academy provides training and support to those with early-stage solutions to social problems.

Graduates of the programme include organisations such as Lib Multicultural Counselling Service (2020), Midlife Women Rock (2019), and PhoenixRize Consulting (2018).

The three-month programme supports participants to clearly articulate, refine and progress their idea.

The Ideas Academy is supported by Bank of America (lead corporate sponsor), Lifes2Good Foundation (sponsor of the Ideas Academy West), and Tomar Trust (supporter of the Ideas Academy South).

The graduating social entrepreneurs will now have the opportunity to apply to pitch for seed funding from a total pot of €50,000 to pilot their idea. Later next month they will pitch to a panel of judges comprising of SEI staff, sector experts and leading entrepreneurs.

Commenting, Tim Griffiths, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland said: “Social entrepreneurs strive to build a more equal society for all, and the significance of people stepping up with ideas to create an Ireland where people deliver real change for the better has never been greater. With the support of our Ideas Academy, these budding social entrepreneurs have received the direction they need to take their first steps from idea to action. We can’t wait to see the positive difference they will go on to make in their communities.”

This year’s call from SEI to ‘see the challenge, be the change’ drew 172 applications from across Ireland, from which 60 final projects were chosen. Categories that received the most submissions included health and wellbeing, education and the environment. For the second year in a row, the programme was delivered remotely due to the ongoing covid-19 restrictions.

Maurice McQuillan, CEO of the Lifes2Good Foundation, sponsor of the Ideas Academy West, said: “As supporter of the Ideas Academy West, we at Lifes2Good Foundation are delighted to see so much positive change being actioned at a local level in the region. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the graduates of this year’s programme.”

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland will launch its next call for applications in spring 2022. For more information, visit socialentrepreneurs.ie.

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