Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, at an awards ceremony at Google, announced the four successful not-for-profit projects selected to take part in the first ever THINKTECH Accelerator. THINKTECH 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 impact. Google.org made a €500,000 donation to the project, which was match funded by the Government.
The THINKTECH project enables non-profit social innovations to grow their ideas for a better Ireland, by accessing supports similar to those provided by venture capital companies to commercial enterprises.
The organisations awarded funding under the THINKTECH project are:
1. Space Engagers – Early stage award – €100,000
· Philip Crowe and Aoife Corcoran (Dublin)
· Helping to tackle homelessness and other challenges by engaging citizens with mapping in their communities
2. The Alone Platform – Full award – €220,000 (€170,000 cash + €50,000 non-financial support)
· Seán Moynihan (Dublin) and Dr Rodd Bond (Louth)
· Supporting older people to live independently at home, by using technology to track and improve wellbeing and combat loneliness
3. Foodcloud Hubs – Full award – €220,000 (€170,000 cash + €50,000 non-financial support)
· Aoibheann O’Brien (Dublin) and Emma Walsh (Waterford)
· Rescues surplus food from food businesses and distributes it to charities across Ireland, using a technology platform and three hubs in Galway, Cork and Dublin.
4. iScoil – Full award – €210,000 (€160,000 cash + €50,000 non-financial support)
· Marianne Checkley (Dublin)
· Providing access to education for early school leavers through online and personalised learning programmes.
THINKTECH project awardees will now take part in a world class Accelerator programme devised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, and supported by Google.org and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., said: “I want to congratulate the four winners on the quality of their projects and the range of critical social issues they address which demonstrate how technology can be a force for good. Housing, homelessness, poverty, education, and the wellbeing of older people are all priorities for this Government. To be in a position to support and encourage innovative solutions to such fundamental social challenges is what good government is about. The THINKTECH programme is an example of what government, corporate leadership and social innovation can achieve when they unite for society’s benefit. I look forward to seeing these projects accelerate positive change in our communities.”
Deirdre Mortell, Social Innovation Fund Ireland CEO, said: “This is about making Ireland better. Creating THINKTECH as the first ever Tech for Good project in Ireland has been an exciting journey. 69 projects applied and these top four projects demonstrate both excellence and innovation in using technology to solve Ireland’s critical social issues. Homelessness, early school leaving, reducing food waste and food poverty, and aging well at home are all critical issues of our time. At Social Innovation Fund Ireland we look forward to working closely with these projects to make Ireland better as they join our newly designed five month Accelerator programme in January 2017.”
Fionnuala Meehan, VP and Head of Google Ireland said: “THINKTECH is a great example of what we believe at Google.org, that teams with bold ideas can create lasting impact on issues we all care about. We are delighted to partner with Social Innovation Fund Ireland and the Government to create THINKTECH, and to offer the winners a package of Google supports as well as critical funds to enable their projects to fly.”
THINKTECH was launched by Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., in June, and the Government has granted funding of €500,000 to match a €500,000 donation by Google.org. THINKTECH winners will receive an award fund totalling €750,000 in grants as well as support and mentoring, and will join a five month Accelerator programme from January to May 2017.
Click here for more information on THINKTECH.