Social entrepreneur, Boris Hunka from Killaloe, County Clare has been announced as one of the winners of the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Awards, supported by DCC plc.
Mr Hunka of The Ease Project is one of six social entrepreneurs addressing social problems through innovative solutions to have won a place on this year’s SEI Awards programme.
The SEI Awards programme identifies high-potential social entrepreneurs and supports them through significant funding and mentoring, as well as providing access to a network of support. Since its foundation in 2004, SEI has supported more than 300 social entrepreneurs, who in turn have impacted the lives of more than 1.7 million people across Ireland. The 2019 Awards programme attracted 120 applications from across Ireland, with 40 applicants making it through to a bootcamp in Croke Park in May. Twelve of those made it to the finalist stage in June and the opportunity to pitch for one of six places on the programme.
The Ease Project is a programme aimed at recognising, normalising and treating anxiety in students. The Ease Project delivers interactive workshops that combine music with visuals to explore what anxiety is, the various ways it manifests, and how it can be managed.
Commenting, Mr Hunka said: “As a small organisation starting out, it can be lonely, and you can feel disconnected from what is going on in the national social entrepreneurship space. Organisations like Social Entrepreneurs Ireland help to bridge the gap and provide vital resources and connections for social entrepreneurs. It is phenomenal for The Ease Project to receive endorsement from a national organisation like SEI. The supports we will receive and the connections that will be made will be invaluable to us.”
CEO of SEI, Darren Ryan said: “Over the past 15 years, SEI has led the way in identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs in Ireland. The calibre of the 120 applicants to the Awards programme this year is testament to fact that there are social entrepreneurs in every community across the country. What is most inspiring is people aren’t just coming up with new ideas, they are working tirelessly to put them into action.
“The courage, ambition, energy and commitment demonstrated by the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardees to solving the social problems they have identified is truly inspiring and this year’s Awardees are already starting to change Ireland for the better. I would like to congratulate Boris and I look forward to seeing The Ease Project evolve into highly impactful, effective, scalable, and sustainable organisation.”
This year’s Social Entrepreneurs Ireland 2019 Awardees also include: Alma Jordan of AgriKids: a farm safety education programme that aims to engage, educate, and empower children to be farm safety ambassadors through classroom resources, interactive workshops, storybooks, and a child-friendly game app; James O’Neill of Property Marking Ireland: a community-led crime prevention initiative; Tracy Keogh of Grow Remote: an organisation that works to end the rural emigration that is depleting the Irish countryside; David Neville and Pádraic Hogan of jumpAGrade, an innovative online model for the provision of secondary school grinds, and Dr Maria Garvey of Helping Hands, an anti-bullying programme that provides schools with the tools and training to enable teachers to identify and prevent bullying before it can start.
DCC plc, the international sales, marketing and support services group founded and headquartered in Dublin, is the flagship supporter of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards programme.
For more information on this year’s Awardees and the work of SEI, visit socialentrepreneurs.ie.