Westmeath-based social entrepreneur competes for €600,000 prize fund

A Westmeath-based social entrepreneur has been short-listed for the prestigious Social Entrepreneurs Ireland annual competition sponsored by DCC plc. This year the competition had over 200 entries with 50 being shortlisted to attend a bootcamp in Dublin.

The annual competition, now in its 10th year, has backed 169 social entrepreneurs to date and invested €5.4 million in direct funding to projects in areas ranging from community and active citizenship, education and learning, environment and sustainability, and mental and physical health.

The shortlisted entry from Westmeath is Tony O’Riordan from Housing First - The Pathway to End Homelessness which aims to develop and demonstrate a cost effective way to end homelessness.

Each budding social entrepreneur had 10 minutes to pitch their potentially game changing ideas to a panel of judges leading to a comprehensive interview process where nine finalists will be selected.

The bootcamp also provided social entrepreneurs with exposure to expert speakers, networking sessions, and bespoke workshops designed to up-skill the participants in key areas such as fundraising, communications, and leadership.

This year the competition is providing €420,000 in funding to nine social entrepreneurs through the Impact and Elevator Awards programmes. A further €180,000 worth of support will also be made available to successful applicants, ensuring that they are equipped to scale and grow their organisations in order to impact as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

Seán Coughlan, CEO Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, said “We were really impressed by the quality and the calibre of this year’s entries and will have a very difficult time selecting the finalists. We are very grateful to our sponsors DCC plc, our volunteer judges, but most importantly the social entrepreneurs themselves who have all contributed so much to their communities.”

Irish headquartered international company DCC plc, whichhas sponsored the awards ceremony for the last four years, are continuing with this sponsorship again this year. CEO of DCC Tommy Breen said: “We in DCC are proud to continue our support of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards. It is a great privilege to play a role in supporting Ireland’s brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs working to have a positive impact on our society.”

The winning nominees will be announced at a gala ceremony in November 2014. For more information about the competition please visit www.socialentrepreneurs.ie

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