Social entrepreneurs are aiming to create change in Ireland

Social entrepreneurs are aiming to create change in Ireland

Sarah White and Julie Ahern, founders of Kind Minds, one of the projects who graduated from the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Ideas Academy.

A MINDFULNESS programme for children founded by Cork social entrepreneurs Sarah White and Julie Ahern is just one of the projects led by people across Ireland who graduated from the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Ideas Academy.

Kind Minds aims to empower children’s well-being by delivering skill building workshops and guidebooks in the areas of mindfulness, creativity and kindness.

Now in its fifth year, SEI’s Ideas Academy provides training and support to those with early-stage solutions to social problems.

Graduates of the programme include organisations such as Lib Multicultural Counselling Service (2020), Midlife Women Rock (2019), and PhoenixRize Consulting (2018).

The three-month programme supports participants to clearly articulate, refine and progress their idea. The Ideas Academy is supported by Bank of America (lead corporate sponsor), Lifes2Good Foundation (sponsor of the Ideas Academy West), and Tomar Trust (supporter of the Ideas Academy South).

The graduating social entrepreneurs will now have the opportunity to apply to pitch for seed funding from a total pot of €50,000 to pilot their idea. Later next month they will pitch to a panel of judges comprising of SEI staff, sector experts and leading entrepreneurs.

Commenting, Tim Griffiths, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland said: “Social entrepreneurs strive to build a more equal society for all, and the significance of people stepping up with ideas to create an Ireland where people deliver real change for the better has never been greater.

“With the support of our Ideas Academy, these budding social entrepreneurs have received the direction they need to take their first steps from idea to action. We can’t wait to see the positive difference they will go on to make in their communities.”

This year’s call from SEI to ‘see the challenge, be the change’ drew 172 applications from across Ireland, from which 60 final projects were chosen. Categories that received the most submissions included health and wellbeing, education and the environment.

For the second year in a row, the programme was delivered remotely due to the ongoing covid-19 restrictions.

Fernando Vicario, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America Europe DAC & Country Executive, Ireland said: “Social entrepreneurs have been key to the development of meaningful solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. The Ideas Academy nurtures innovation, enabling and encouraging entrepreneurs to think big and create lasting positive change.

“Congratulations to all those graduating; we can’t wait to see what your future holds and look forward to our continued partnership with the academy.”

Maurice McQuillan, CEO of the Lifes2Good Foundation, sponsor of the Ideas Academy West, said: “As supporter of the Ideas Academy West, we at Lifes2Good Foundation are delighted to see so much positive change being actioned at a local level in the region. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the graduates of this year’s programme.”

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland will launch its next call for applications in spring 2022. For more information, visit socialentrepreneurs.ie.

Julie and Sarah said: “We founded Kind Minds to empower children’s wellbeing through mindfulness, creativity, and kindness.

“We have developed, written, and delivered:

“Kindness crusaders workshops – a series of workshops aimed at children aged 3-12 years. Each workshop develops a new skill that builds their mindfulness superpowers. We do this through our play-based techniques incorporating breath, movement, meditation, and creativity.

“Zen Den – we developed this as an “amygdala first aid” station that provides children with a safe, calming space to explore and process bigger emotions in their own time and with autonomy. It allows children the opportunity to engage with mindful activities whilst regulating their emotions because sometimes we all need to just take a minute and breathe so we can be our best selves.

“Practitioner training- a series of workshops designed to create awareness of the benefits in creating a regular mindfulness-based kindness practice for our own self-care and to support children’s wellbeing in schools and at home along with providing a toolkit of techniques that can be used in daily routines with children, empowering their autonomy to manage their own anxiety as well as scaffolding life skills.”

See www.kindminds.ie or email: kindmindsireland@gmail.com for more.

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