From climate to food waste, new initiative to turn ideas into social enterprises

Rebecca R. Ammons

The CEAI initiative wants to promote the role of social enterprises in communities and find ideas that can become beneficial products or services.

A new initiative is looking for people around Ireland to share business ideas that can help tackle social or environmental challenges in their local community.

Champion Changemakers is targeting ideas that can be turned into products or services, and can directly impact communities in terms of economic equality, human wellbeing and the environment. Ideas can focus on areas from food waste and fast fashion, to education, housing, mental health and the climate emergency.

The initiative comes from the Community Enterprise Association Ireland (CEAI), which will host a series of regional hackathon-like events across its network of enterprise centres and hubs.

Ideas will be selected at these events and the teams developing potential enterprises will go forward to a national pitching event in Dublin this October.

The CEAI said positive social change is often the basis for starting a business, which is also known as a social enterprise. The Champion Changemakers initiative aims to promote the role of social enterprise in local areas, and CEAI gave examples of social enterprise start-ups such as Thriftify, Food Cloud and Too Good to Go

“Social enterprises are key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, delivering products and services primarily to improve the lives of people in communities around Ireland,” said CEAI hub network manager Siobhan Finn.

“The aim of this initiative is to empower, educate and inspire individuals to create concepts which can be turned into tangible products or services which could potentially solve large-scale societal problems.”

The regional events will take place between 23 and 25 September and those who wish to apply can do so on the Champion Changemakers website.

CEAI said that the overall winning team will benefit from key supports and services “that any start-up would welcome”. Individuals do not require experience in business or social enterprise to participate in the initiative.

Funding for Champion Changemakers came from the Department of Rural and Community Development, under the ARISE (Awareness Raising Initiatives for Social Enterprise) Scheme 2021.

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