CEAI Newsletter | Issue 2 | Autumn 2022


Champion Changemakers

Champion ChangemakersTM is a weekend long ‘Dragons Den’ type event which will be hosted by members of the Community Enterprise Association Ireland (CEAI) in five different locations across the country from 23rd – 25th September. The focus of the weekend is to work with local communities in Ireland – individuals or groups – to identify, address and solve social, environmental or economic challenges which exist around them. Anybody interested in getting involved will find details of the host enterprise centres/hubs on the CEAI website and should sign up here by September 21st to secure their place.

There is no cost to getting involved and no business experience is required – all you need is a passion to support positive change in your community and to improve the lives of others across Ireland. The shortlisted groups will progress to the National PitchFest on October 20th in Dublin.

The outright winner will benefit from a prize bursary of supports with an estimated value of €10,000 to set them on their founder journey towards the establishment of a sustainable, successful and impact-driven social enterprise.

Here‘s what we’ve been up to…

July 2022: Enterprise Ireland REISS Fund

As a previously successful applicant under the 2019 Regional Enterprise Development Fund, CEAI (registered as NACEC CLG) is now one of 47 applicants that have been approved for a total of €3.5 million in grant support under the Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme (REISS) 2022. Under the Feasibility Study Stream, CEAI secured funding to investigate the viability of a Virtual Centre of Excellence incorporating a Shared Services Centre to drive innovation and entrepreneurship through the development of best practices in governance, innovation, systems and process and financial management in enterprise centres and enterprise hubs nationally.  This project will be delivered in full partnership with on the ground implementers – enterprise centres and hubs and specialist service delivery teams. This allocation of REISS funding across the country will support the development of potential innovative regional projects aligned with the objectives of the suite of nine new Regional Enterprise Plans that were launched earlier this year.  CEAI is involved in supporting a number of actions under this suite of Plans.

July 2022: The Wheel Training Links Network Fund

CEAI was one of 10 successful Networks to be awarded a funding grant to support and develop out a Training Links Network – Ireland’s Sustainable Hubs Network | SHubs – for members who had previously self-nominated to be part of the Network.  We are currently partnering with the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), UCC to design and deliver a bespoke sustainability training programme for enterprise centre and enterprise hub locations nationally. The SHubs Programme will – using a focus group approach – identify the sustainability training needs at each location, design and deliver targeted workshop-based training on key thematic areas and develop resource efficiency plans for each location.The partnership between CEAI and ERI draws together real-world experiences, academic research, and teaching knowledge to co-create learning solutions which can be easily understood and effectively delivered to community enterprise centres and enterprise hubs around the country. 15 Centre and Hub locations from across the Country will participate within the Network with the SHubs Programme due to launch on October 12th next.

April 2022: Skillnet Ireland Fund

In Spring of this year, when Skillnet Ireland announced their 2022 Revitalising Business Fund, CEAI engaged with M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet and the Training Learners Skillnet from the Irish Institute of Training & Development to broker a partnership, subsequently leading to a successful application being made on behalf of the National Hub Network.  The monies approved under the Future Dynamics Programme Co-Creation Stream of this Revitalising Business Fund will prioritise collaboration between Skillnet Ireland, training and learning providers (including the HEIs), sectoral and community stakeholders with and including CEAI  to address the changing talent landscape across the National Hub Network.  The proposed body of work will take a structured and planned approach to delivering on the learning, development, and mentoring requirements of staff across the National Hub Network, beginning with sectoral research which through a series of stages will include a needs analysis, skills gap identification, the establishment of development framework and ultimately setting out a recognised and accredited career pathway for the Network.  The work will inform a menu of training programme solutions, skills requirements, mentoring opportunities, and micro credentials to be put in place for the upskilling of the National Hub Network members.


Check out the latest coverage of the Champion ChangemakersTM Weekends below and keep up to date with all CEAI announcements by following our news feed here.


May 2022: ‘Start With Why’

Start With Why was a really great event and Members Meet-up hosted by CEAI on May 19th last at the incredible venue of our member Bloom HQ. This was the first in-person event since February 2020 and was a hugely successful, insightful and fun day.

A really big Thank You to TEAM Bloom HQ for your warm welcome, excellent hospitality and smooth logistics.

We were delighted to host Steve Redmond, Endurance Swimmer and the first person in the world to complete the Oceans Sevens Challenge.  Steve inspired us with both passion and purpose as he related his experiences to the critical ambition of CEAI to build Sustainable Enterprise Centres and Enterprise Hubs across the Regions.

We were fortunate to have a number of excellent panel participants who spent over an hour discussing and exchanging views of the ambition of promised value of the QHubs Quality and Innovation Management Programme for the National Hub Network.  Panelists included:

● Carol Gibbons, Head of Regions and Local Enterprise at Enterprise Ireland
● Denis Curran, Head of Regions, Property and Enterprise Development at IDA Ireland
● Geraldine Larkin, Chief Executive at the National Standards Authority of Ireland
● Colm O Neill, Assistant Principal, Regional Enterprise Plans and Initiatives Unit at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
● Geraldine Crean, Assistant Principal, Regional Development and Innovation Unit at the Department of Rural and Community Development

Susan HayesCulleton, Managing Director, HayesCulleton Group acted, as always, as an incredibly talented and engaging MC and Facilitator .

And with final thanks going to you, our friends and our members who travelled from far and wide to connect in person once again.

We can’t wait to see you all next time.

Don’t forget all members of the CEAI Community should have full access to our online conversations hosted on Mighty Networks.  If you are a registered member of CEAI, check that you and your colleagues have full acces and if not then please contact Siobhán Finn on [email protected]

Save The Date
Next Members Event planned for October 25th.
Location to be announced soon!


Management Development Programme for Public Sector Personnel

CEAI secured funding support earlier this year from the Department of Rural and Community Development to deliver a Management Development Programme to key personnel across the National Hub Network who were unable to access the 2021 MentorsWork Programme which was previously delivered in partnership with SFA and CEAI.
This customised Management Development Programme will offer additional personnel the opportunity to engage in the first step of a creative learning pathway which is being designed to meet the ongoing training, mentoring, and learning support needs of the managers and staff across the National Hub Network.  This learning pathway will underpin the successful rollout of the QHubs Quality and Innovation Management Programme.

CEAI currently holds details who had previously expressed an interest in participating in MentorsWork but were precluded.   If you are interested in securing your place on this customised programme, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible.

CEAI MentorsWork Management Development Programme

We are delighted to announce that Skillnet Ireland and the SFA have once again partnered with CEAI to deliver training to personnel across the National Hub Network.

In Q4 2021, CEAI collaborated and partnered with Skillnet Ireland and the SFA for the delivery of MentorsWork – a preparatory management development programme – the purpose of which was to focus on capacity building for key personnel across the National Hub Network. Over a 12-week programme, delivered between January and April of this year, participants from over 50 locations were involved in a customised learning and management development journey, benefitting from very real and tangible learning and development outcomes such as:

“The Programme has quite literally saved me about 6 months of mistakes- it has been exceptional in terms of a laser focus on my needs” 

“The seasoned knowledge of my mentor was quite simply …Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing – the pragmatic and down to earth approach, which was based on huge experience of this sector was simply amazing and insightful for me “ 

Applications are now being taken for the next MentorsWork Programme due to commence shortly.  If you would like to know more, we are hosting information sessions on both September 22nd and September 30th.  You will have the opportunity to discuss the programme in more detail as well as hearing from centre and hub managers who have completed the programme.  To join one of these information sessions, please take a few moments to book your place by completing this form.

This Programme is entirely at no cost to members of the National Hub Network with thanks to support from the Small Firms Association, Skillnet Ireland and the National Training Fund.  To *secure your place, you simply need to complete the booking form here.

*Terms and Conditions do apply and please also note that places allocated must be taken up before December 1st 2022.


The Guinness Enterprise Centre’s award-winning University Programme connects Ireland’s innovative start-ups and scale-ups with international talent from leading Universities worldwide. With more than 50 Universities onboard, this programme oversees collaborations from strategic business projects to internships, research opportunities and more. We work with undergraduate first year students all the way through to MBA and Executive MBAs to find the perfect partnership for participating organisations.

Since the programmes launch in 2017, the GEC has been recognised as the Top University Associated Business Incubator in the world by UBI Global Rankings. Previous project subjects have included Market Entry Strategies, Data Analytics, Social Media Campaigns, SEO Marketing, Internationalising HR Management and many more!
If you’re organisation is looking for a unique opportunity to gain insights and international exposure please email Madison or fill out our online application here.


If you are a CLG trading as a community enterprise centre or enterprise, digital or co-working hub and would like to be part of the CEAI Community, please contact Siobhán Finn on [email protected]

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