Dublin People

Local changemakers shaking up the status quo awarded €20,000 each by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

Pictured are entrepreneurs Sharon Keilthy (left), Jiminy Eco Toys founder, and Eileen McHugh, Hair Together co-founder. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

Two Dublin based social entrepreneurs have won a place on Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Impact Awards accelerator programme.

Ballymun social entrepreneur Eileen McHugh is the founder of Hair Together, which uses the art of hairdressing and barbering to reach and engage with young people who have not yet reached their full potential through mainstream education.

Raheny based Sharon Keilthy is the founder of Jiminy Eco Toys is shaking up the plastic toy industry in Ireland, by providing buyers and suppliers climate-neutral and minimal waste toys for children.

Both organisations have secured €20,000 each in unrestricted funding each for their innovative solutions to embedded social problems.

The SEI Impact Programme identifies high-potential social entrepreneurs and supports them through significant funding and mentoring, as well as providing access to a network of support.

Impact Awardees receive training in areas such as fundraising, governance, leadership, and storytelling.

The 2022 programme attracted more than 100 applications from all corners of Ireland with the successful applicants going through a rigorous interview process.

Hair Together and Jiminy Eco Toys are two of five Awardees chosen, upon showing how their programmes are shaking up the traditional ways of dealing with social issues and are providing innovative solutions.

The problems these social entrepreneurs are tackling are wide ranging, from supporting people with the most common learning disability in the country, to a podcast supporting people to break the downward cycle of addiction, to bridging the creative education gap.

Speaking about winning a place on the programme, Ms McHugh said “This award will support us to scale the delivery of our personal development programme to support a greater number of people. Our aim is to ignite creativity and confidence, to foster a lifetime of expansive thinking and, to let all our participants understand that there are always options open to them. Thank you to SEI for acknowledging and supporting real societal change”.

Ms Keilthy, founder of Jiminy Eco Toys also commented “Being an entrepreneur is fun, and being a social entrepreneur is so motivating – but it can also feel lonely. I’m excited to join the SEI community and about the mentoring element of their Impact Programme – it will be good to discuss big decisions about the future of Jiminy Eco Toys with people who get what our eco-activist toystore is about”.

SEI are also delighted to announce the beginning of a three-year partnership with real estate investment company Kennedy Wilson, whose funding, as Major Programme Sponsor, in conjunction with other philanthropic donors, will support the Impact Programme from 2022 – 2025.

This year’s Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Awardees also include;

Commenting, Sophie Ainscough, LEAP Programmes Manager at Social

Entrepreneurs Ireland, who will be leading the Impact Awards delivery said: “It’s a really exciting time for us at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland to be working with a new group of amazing social entrepreneurs.

“Each one of them is working to solve an important problem in a unique way and over the next nine months I’m looking forward to getting to know them and helping to bring their organisation to the next level.”

Since its foundation in 2004, SEI has supported more than 500 social entrepreneurs across the country who are championing and driving solutions in areas such as mental health, homelessness, the environment, education, and unemployment.?Alumni of SEI programmes include AsIAm, FoodCloud, Grow Remote, jumpAgrade, Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance and The Shona Project.



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