KPMG has been working with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) to provide professional services and advice.
SEI aims to solve some of Ireland’s major social and environmental problems by identifying innovative thinking and new solutions among Ireland’s social entrepreneurs.
“When a social entrepreneur comes up with a great new solution to a social problem, we believe that they should get the funding and support that they need to scale and grow, so that they can impact as many people as possible”, says SEI chief executive Darren Ryan. “We support projects which no one else would fund or support. For example, we have supported Women for Election, Men’s Sheds, Coder Dojo, Food Cloud and many others.”
Each year, the organisation receives hundreds of applications from social entrepreneurs and then identifies those who have the most potential to have an impact. Those selected receive assistance to develop their projects and implement their ideas. The SEI Awards Programme provides up to €140,000 worth of support per social entrepreneur over the course of up to two years.
“We give them mentoring and try to help them acquire the business skills they need to succeed”, Darren adds.
“Since 2004 we have supported 204 social entrepreneurs, investing €6.7million in their projects, and providing significant additional supports. These in turn have directly impacted over 520,000 people across Ireland and created over 1,230 employment opportunities”.
Along with annual funding to SEI, KPMG assists social entrepreneurs with the development of business plans, conducts tax briefing sessions and hosts accounting and finance workshops. In addition, in 2017, ten KPMG Directors acted as mentors to awardees over a 6 month period and the firm has created a “Running your own Business” information booklet which is available on the SEI website.
“KPMG support us with the selection process and the interviews. KPMG has helped us make really good decisions on which social innovators to support. We get really high quality input” says Darren.
He emphasises the partnership nature of the relationship with KPMG. “We try to make it a holistic partnership and not just about a cheque. We see how the two organisations can partner by matching skills and create value for the entrepreneurs we are supporting. The people in KPMG are hugely supportive of what we are doing on a personal level. They are really passionate about it; there is a real partnership between our two organisations.”