Michael Mulhall of DPS Group spoke at the monthly Cork Chamber business breakfast last week.
Mr Mulhall told the crowd that we have partnered with six schools in less affluent areas through our Aspire2 programme. The aim of Aspire2 is to encourage third level participation and further education. Mr Mulhall explained that we have assisted 600 students across six schools so far. However, he also noted that this is a “drop in the ocean” compared to what could be done in disadvantaged school communities. He went on to urge local firms to practice social innovation and engage in community projects.
Social Innovators Fund Ireland (SIFI) was founded three years ago and raises money through philanthropy. Every euro raised is then matched by the government. It tackles issues such as poverty, barriers to education, and healthcare. To date, the fund has partnered with large firms such as Google, Medtronic, Mason Hayes & Curran and IPB Insurance. It has also worked with SMEs, trusts, families and individuals.
In the event opening, the crowds heard from Deirdre Mortell, CEO of SIFI. Ms Mortell said the concept was about using innovation to solve critical social issues in Ireland. Ms Mortell said SIFI has raised €14m in its three years, with government funding bringing it up to €28m. Cork Chamber has partnered with SIFI to mark its 200th anniversary. It is aiming to raise €200,000 for the fund over six months as part of its Cork Chamber 1819 fund. Ms Mortell said the fund combined “the best of philanthropy and the best of innovation for community development, working with companies to see the most critical social issues”.
The event was covered by national media, here is an article from the Irish Examiner with more on the event.