Galway woman wins Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award

Aoibheann O'Brien and Iseult Ward.

Aoibheann O'Brien and Iseult Ward.

Galway native Aoibheann O’Brien, and her co-founder Iseult Ward, have been awarded the 2014 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Award, worth €140,000, for their organisation FoodCloud.

Established in 2013, FoodCloud makes the repurposing and distribution of potentially wasted food as easy as possible, combining an app and some legal agreements that ensure food safety rules are followed.

Retailers and businesses use the FoodCloud app to upload details of their excess food, with local charities receiving a text message notifying them about the food donation. The charity can then collect this donation and distribute it to the individuals it supports.

FoodCloud has rapidly expanded its operations in the past year. Following a successful pilot programme in 18 Tesco stores that saw the retail giant donate 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities, FoodCloud has signed a national partnership agreement with Tesco Ireland to roll out its app to all 145 Tesco stores around the country. To date it has facilitated the redistribution of 123 tonnes of surplus food to a growing network of charities across the country.

Even though more than 450,000 people in Ireland suffer from food poverty, the country wastes more than a million tonnes of food each year. This makes us the fifth worst waster of food in Europe. At the same time, one in 10 Irish people are struggling to feed themselves sufficiently, while the business community is desperate to find a solution to increase the efficiency of their operations, saving food and money in the process.

“Every single social enterprise that we look up to in Ireland is a past awardee of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards,” Ms O’Brien said. “To be on the same level is so humbling and we are very proud of what we see as a huge stamp of approval.

“It is fantastic knowing that there is going to be support there in the future to ensure we can reach our full potential,” she added. “It’s the best recognition you can get as a social enterprise in Ireland.”

The 2014 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards saw €600,000 worth of funding and support awarded to nine different social enterprises. The winning nominees were announced at a ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, yesterday. For more information on the awards see www.socialentrepreneurs.ie

For more information on FoodCloud visit foodcloud.ie

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