Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Darren Ryan who is CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, an organisation that is bringing entrepreneurial flair to social problems that have been with us for some time.
While Darren’s story is about a movement in Ireland I really believe it has an interest way beyond those shores.
This is the first interview that I have done with a non-profit, and it highlights how those same entrepreneurial skills that we talk a lot about can be harnessed to solve social problems.
The irony for me, at least, is that this organisation was set up in 2004 when the proverbial “Celtic Tiger” was in full bloom. Despite that economic boom, there had been no new ideas to tackle some pretty long standing social problems.
What Darren and his team have done so brilliantly is to combine that spirit of entrepreneurship and social issues.
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland have given a platform to those who, rather than just complain about things, really want to do something about them.
In the interview Darren talks about some amazing initiatives like “Mens Sheds” which was set up by one person who recognised the social isolation many men were experiencing due to unemployment. They were experiencing serious anxiety – and did not have the social outlet that work previously enabled.
Mens Sheds grouped them together to provide valuable services to the community – whether it was fixing cars for those who could not afford to send to a garage, or building bench seats for public parks.
There are now more than 6000 men participating in this scheme around Ireland.
There are other great examples that Darren shares in the interview here. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland have now given funding of approximately €6m – and this without a cent from the Government. All of this has been raised various companies, and such funds as the Ireland Fund.
Their slogan is “Think Big. Act Now. Change Ireland”, and their vision is to become global leaders in social innovation.
I take my hat off to Darren and his team – they are doing something so magnificent in Ireland, and I also believe they are showing the way, and creating the template, for other countries.
Please listen to the entire interview – it is so worth it!!
Click HERE to listen to Darren Ryan.
Thanks to Jodey Smith, my podcasting technical genius, who does all the bits I don’t
like –the editing, the uploading etc. He is a gem and can be contacted at JodeySmith.com.