• Champion Changemakers

CEAI is supporting a number of its member locations to host ‘hackathon’ type events later this year, bringing local communities together to solve real world, everyday societal or economic challenges in ways that will positively impact our ever-changing world.

Hosted as Champion ChangemakersTM, individuals of all ages as well as local groups, special interest organisations, societies and networks are invited to take part in these weekends across a number of locations from September 23rd –  25th next.

During the weekend, ideas generated and agreed on as offering opportunities to be transformed into viable products or services will be concept-tested, validated and developed out for commercial suitability, possibly even leading to the setting up of sustainable non-profit business.

Individuals, community organisations, networks or special interest groups are all encouraged to take part.  There is no charge for participating and you simply register your interest for your preferred location here.

Ideas will be classified under one of  three key themes which are all encompassing:

  • Environment and Climate Action
  • Economic Inequality
  • Human Wellbeing.

Teams will be shortlisted to participate in a national event with ideas considered to be viable and offering a real social enterprise opportunity judged at a national pitching session on October 20th, hosted at the Innovate Communities Social Innovation Hub, Dublin 11.

The chosen overall winning team will benefit from a bursary of supports to set them on their founder journey towards the establishment of a sustainable, successful and impact-driven social enterprise.

Social Enterprises take an idea for a new product or service which will solve a need or a challenge in a community or wider society and transform that idea into a business model that offers commercial sustainability.  In other words ‘Profit with a Purpose’!

The purpose of the Champion ChangemakersTM weekends is to promote the role of social enterprise in local communities.  Individuals will not need to have any experience of business or social enterprise, but will be driven by a passion to make a real difference in their own communities and beyond. 

At CEAI, we are committed to supporting our members engage with their local communities.  The Champion ChangemakersTM events across the country will offer a real opportunity for our members – themselves social enterprises – to support the creation of new social enterprises in their own localities.

The growth in numbers of social enterprises across Ireland has become particularly noticeable in the last decade with some of the more well-known business names including:

  • Thriftify a web platform that allows charities to offer second-hand items for sale online
  • Food Cloud connecting businesses that have surplus food with charities and community groups that need it thereby combatting food waste in Ireland
  • Seed Scholars providing curriculum-based outdoor environmental education to students so as to offer young people the opportunity to connect with nature
  • GIY Ireland helping and educating people to become more sustainable by growing some of their own food with the goal to rebuild a sustainable food system
  • The Shona Project celebrating women from all over the world by providing a platform for young women to celebrate achievements, ask for advice and share their own stories.

AWARENESS RAISING INITIATIVES FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE – ARISE

Developing and promoting a wide understanding of social enterprise is a key priority of the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022.

The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) has developed an Awareness Strategy for social enterprise in Ireland which it is delivering in partnership with a number of social enterprise stakeholders including CEAI.

The main aims of this Awareness Strategy are to:

  1. Provide a common approach to the communications and language around social enterprise
  2. Foster a common understanding of the value of social enterprise
  3. Collectively empower social enterprises to have a voice and a role in raising awareness.

In 2021, DRCD launched the Awareness Raising Initiatives for Social Enterprise (ARISE) to provide funding to social enterprises and their support and network organisations to carry out awareness raising initiatives that will increase awareness of social enterprises and their potential, in line with the Department’s Awareness Raising Strategy. Funding for this scheme is provided from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The Champion ChangemakersTM weekends are approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The funding allocated is part of the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2021 and is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development in conjunction with Pobal.

Champion Changemakers will contribute to Ireland’s progress in overcoming challenges facing communities nationwide including youth unemployment, poverty, social injustice and the climates crisis, which will in turn help mobilise efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030.