Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) today marks its first official year in operation. During 2016, the organisation reached a number of key milestones. Through a combination of donations from multinational corporations, indigenous legal firms, individuals and SME’s, SIFI has successfully raised €1 million. By the end of 2017, SIFI aims to raise a further €1.5 million in philanthropic funds. SIFI is a charity created by the Government to find and back the best social innovations in Ireland and provide them with growth capital and supports in order to maximise their impact.
The philanthropic funds raised for investment by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, which support innovative solutions to critical social issues, are matched by Government on a like-for-like basis.
CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Deirdre Mortell said: “2016 has been a great year for Social Innovation Fund Ireland from our three key product launches to the strengthening of our Board. During the past year we have reached some key milestones including developing Ireland’s first ever Technology For Good Fund, launched Ireland’s first ‘non-profit Accelerator’ in the form of Animate awards and were named in the Programme for Government. Our Education Fund is now open for applications until February 24th. Looking ahead to 2017, it is important that we continue to build on the donation momentum and work to an ambitious plan. I would ask corporate Ireland to strongly considering working with SIFI and help us reach our €1.5 million target for 2017, which is the matched by Government.”
A key aim for 2017 is to attract more funding from Irish companies. To help meet this objective the company has made two additional experienced Board appointments, Alf Smiddy and Dalton Philips, to help drive the growth and development of SIFI.
SIFI has launched three key strategic programmes in the past year, Animate (January), THINKTECH (June), and the Education Fund (November). Each programme aims to drive and support social innovations – identifying and spreading solutions we need to key social issues. The first winners of the inaugural Animate Programme that supports early stage innovations and projects to get to the next stage of their development were granted funds to the value of €75,000 to include financial and non-financial supports that target growth. A year on, Animate awardees have raised a combined total of €316,859 for next stage development.
2016 also saw the launch of THINKTECH, a €1 million programme supported by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Google.org and Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government that identified innovative ideas that use technology to create positive social impact in Ireland. Both programmes, which demonstrate SIFI’s mission to create the world’s best ecosystem for social innovation, highlight the first’s year’s progress by SIFI to support and grow the social innovation sector in Ireland.