THINKTECH, a €1 million project to grow ideas for a better Ireland today announced the 11 finalists who will compete for access to an award fund of up to €750,000 in grants as well as support and mentoring to further develop their social innovations. The finalists will take part in a development programme devised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland and supported by Google.org & the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, with the overall award recipients announced in December at an Awards ceremony at Google’s EMEA HQ in Dublin.

THINKTECH was recently launched by Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, Simon Coveney, TD. which has granted matched funding of €500,000 to a €500,000 donation by Google.org. The initiative is a collaboration between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google which invests in teams with bold ideas that create lasting global impact.

The 11 finalists announced today are: ALONE/NetwellCASALA, ChangeX, Cybersmarties, Foodcloud, iScoil, The Freebird Club, ThirdAge/Agewell, Thriftify, SourceIT, Student Volunteer and Virtual College Community.

Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., said, “I am delighted to see such a wide range of impactful technology-driven solutions to the social issues we all want to see resolved in Ireland, and look forward to meeting the final Awardees.”

Director of Google.org, Jacquelline Fuller said: “These ideas are becoming a reality and addressing a wide range of social issues. For example they include a social network that is helping to combat cyberbullying, and projects that are providing new ways to access education for early school leavers and marginalised communities, as well as ways that technology can help to reduce the isolation of older people in Irish communities. We see great potential for these ideas to make a lasting impact and they also demonstrate Google’s view that technology has the power to make a real difference and create positive change in society.”

CEO Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Deirdre Mortell said: “The shortlisted projects selected have already demonstrated progress towards measurable social impact; they have the ability to scale across Ireland; and have identified a wide range of technology solutions including hardware, software, online platforms and apps to deliver their ideas.”

She added, “Out of almost 70 applications received we have managed to select 11 of the most promising and in our view important innovative ideas that use technology to help to improve lives and create a better Ireland. From a diversity perspective, encouragingly 54% of the applications received were ideas spearheaded by female founders.”

The short-listed finalists will now present their proposals to an interview panel made-up of business and social sector leaders in Dublin this week.

THINKTECH Finalists interviewers will include Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner, Atlantic Bridge Partners; Rosheen McGuckian, CEO, NTR plc & SIFI Board member; Terence O’Rourke, Chairman, SIFI & Enterprise Ireland; Dr Paul Gilligan, CEO St Patrick’s University Hospital; Dalton Philips, SIFI Board member & Boston Consulting Group; Mark Adair of Mason Hayes & Curran; Anne Connolly, CEO Irish Smart Aging Exchange; Gilliane Quinn de Schonen, Founder Zumo; Bobbie Bergin, Director of Corporate Affairs, AIB; Andrew Dunckelman, Google.org; Brendan Whelan, CEO Social Finance Foundation; Faye Drouillard, and Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

This will be followed by a Finalists’ Workshop on Thursday, September 29th in Dublin, with sessions from technology entrepreneur and investor Shane Deasy, technology venture capitalist Helen McBreen, and digital business experts from Google, Dublin.

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