On Wednesday evening, six young social entrepreneurs competed at STAND’s Ideas for Change event to win seed funding of €1,000, sponsored by Deloitte. Joanna O’Malley convinced the judges with a heart-felt presentation of her environmental initiative Preserve Ireland and took the Award home. A second prize, sponsored by Irish Aid, was awarded by the audience to candidate Sinéad Barry, for her project seeking to provide transport services to people living in Direct Provision in rural Ireland. Ideas for Change was the final step of the 2019 edition of STAND’s annual Ideas Collective, a summer camp for changemakers.

 

What is the Ideas Collective?

The Ideas Collective project is a “three-month social incubator”. “We take people who have an idea for change, and we give them the tools and the skills, the belief in themselves so they can go on and take action on a massive scale,” explained STAND’s CEO, John Logue,  

With the Ideas Collective initiative, STAND embraces ideas to address the challenges this generation is facing. During the summer, 19 students and recent graduates met over the course of three weekends and were coached by professional trainers to help them develop the skills and tools they need to make a difference. Various projects came to life during the summer, ranging from awareness campaigns, events and social enterprises and services.

The Ideas for Change event was the opportunity for some of the participants to pitch their project to a panel of judges and win seed funding allowing them to grow their project.

 

What were the 2019 Ideas for Change?

On Wednesday, six driven candidates pitched in front of our judges for the night: Claire Bergin, Deloitte’s Corporate Social Responsibility Senior Manager; Clodagh Kelly, founder of Swapsies and co-host of Climate Queens podcast; Jessie Dolliver, co-founder of the All Ireland Student Activist Network. 

Brian Mallen, the only male pitcher this year, spoke first. Through his four-minute-long pitch, Brian introduced us to “The Bridge”, aimed to offer an online platform and physical meetings spaces to allow all kinds of activists to connect with NGOs. As he told us prior to his speech, “I’m trying to build sustainable relationships between activists and NGOs.”

The next one to hit the spotlight was Joanna O’Malley. Before talking to the audience, she confided to us: “I was just having a shower and the idea popped into my head”. That’s how “Preserve Ireland” was born. This organisation aims to approach environmental issues with volunteering and education. Joanna wants to “work with perfect imperfect environmentalists” and has already hosted several clean-ups.

Our third concurrent was Kayley Curtis. “You don’t need to have a script as long as you have passion,” she said, smiling. Her “Revamped” project aims to encourage second-hand clothing. Her store would implement the retail techniques used by highstreets stores. For her, everything started from a conversation with a friend, before leading to more and more research, and eventually to the will to take action.

Then, Leia Mocan took the floor. “I’m not a very good speaker. I like to express myself through art” she told us. Her project is based on three pillars. First, she created a video animation which explains fast fashion. For the second pillar, she made an art performance called “stop wearing dead skin”. The third pillar is a campaign which should be launched pretty soon on social media with the #stopwearingdeadskin hashtag.

Sinéad Barry was next on the stage. Her still-without-a-name project is about organizing a network of drivers to give emergency, and maybe at some points recreational, lifts to migrants living in Direct Provision centers. “There’s a Direct Provision center not far from my house, that’s really difficult to get to when you don’t have a car. So I guess that’s how the idea gradually came into my head” she revealed to us. 

The last one to speak was Tanya Holliday. Going to many music festivals over the years, Tanya was mortified by the amount of waste generated by those events. Her project is about creating an eco-friendly festival pack that can be bought prior to the event and therefore reduce waste. “Even people that are very environmentally conscious go out the window at festivals, especially after a few drinks”. 

 

What did the candidates have to say about the Ideas Collective? 

When interviewed on their experiences with STAND’s Ideas Collective, the candidates were all unanimous to say that the program exceeded their expectations. 

In Kayley’s eyes, “it was a full experience! I got trainings I never thought I needed. There is such an amazing support network I never imagined I’d get. It has completely exceeded what I expected.”

For Brian, the program went “from getting a life coach to building emotional tools that I’m now using within the organisation and for events that I’m running. I also built amazing contacts,” he added. 

Tanya said she “expected to meet a lot of broad-minded people” and “it lived up to my expectations.”

It seems like very few of them expected such an experience when they walked in on the first day of the programme. Joanna confessed that “I didn’t have many expectations, but I had a great time!”, joined by Sinéad who admitted “I didn’t plan to enjoy it so much.”

 

Feeling inspired by all this? Join the Ideas Collective 2020! If you want to know more or want to save a spot in the next edition, contact mary@stand.ie and see how you can get involved.

 

The Ideas Collective is an initiative funded by Irish Aid. STAND would like to thank again Irish Aid as well as Deloitte for their continuous support.

 

If you want to support Preserve Ireland, don’t hesitate to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Judges Choice winner Joanna O’Malley (Preserve Ireland) pictured with Suas CEO John Logue and Irish Aid’s Aine Doody

 

People’s Choice winner Sinead Barry pictured alongside Suas CEO John Logue

 

Judges for the evening (L-R): Clodagh Kelly (Swapsies), Jessie Dolliver (All Ireland Student Activist Network), Clare Bergin (Deloitte)

 

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