Shortlist announced for CEAI’s Champion Changemakers National ‘Pitch-Fest’ Final 2022

A new eco concrete solution, a digital support platform for new parents from minority groups, social integration through music, online marketplace connecting lift-seekers with vehicle owners and improved local resources for women in direct provision among shortlisted ideas


  • A shortlist of individuals and groups who participated in the Community Enterprise Association Ireland’s recent ‘Dragons Den’ style Champion Changemakers regional events in September has today been announced


  • Those shortlisted will go on to a national final on October 20th in Innovate Communities Dublin where they will pitch their social enterprise idea to a panel of expert judges from organisations including Enterprise Ireland, Arthur Cox, Rethink Ireland and Social Impact Ireland, to compete for a bursary prize worth €10,000
  • Funding for the ‘Champion Changemakers’ initiative secured from the Department of Rural and Community Development under the ARISE (Awareness Raising Initiatives for Social Enterprise) Scheme 2021


The shortlist for the Champion Changemakers National Pitch-Fest 2022 is announced today after creative thinkers around the country participated in regional events in five hubs nationwide from the 23rd – 25th of September.

Groups and individuals worked alongside local mentors to develop their ideas for a social enterprise tackling environmental or social challenges currently facing their local communities. Participants then pitched these ideas to a panel of experts, who selected a shortlist to go through to the national final.

Finalists from each location will participate in the National Pitch-Fest in Innovate Communities Ballymun, Dublin on October 20th between 10:00am – 3:00pm where they will pitch their idea to a panel of judges from four organisations – Enterprise Ireland, Arthur Cox, Rethink Ireland and Social Impact Ireland.

The overall successful group or individual will benefit from a prize bursary to the value of €10,000 to set them on their journey towards the establishment of a sustainable and successful social enterprise. The bursary consists of key supports and services including:


  • Five dedicated mentoring sessions facilitated by the Local Enterprise Network
  • Idea verification processes, strategy scoping and impact framework development from Social Impact Ireland
  • Access to ReThink Ireland’s ‘Start your own Social Enterprise Programme’ which will provide essential tools and guidance required to take their idea to the next level, culminating in the opportunity to pitch for investment or additional non-financial supports to the investment value of €10,000
  • Legal advice from Arthur Cox on setting up a company limited by guarantee (CLG)
  • For the registered company, pro-bono support about the preparation of audit exempt financial statements for the purposes of CRO Filings and compliance with the Companies Act 2014 from Woods & Partners
  • Provision of dedicated hot-desking space for a 6-month period in the location of choice from participating member locations from the CEAI
  • Hardware and Software kit from Acer in conjunction with Softcat plc



Each idea is categorised under one of three themes:

Environment and Climate Action

  1. “Pooled” – An online marketplace connecting individuals seeking lifts and those with cars that are making the same journey that would like some company or someone to share the petrol price with. (Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace)


  1. “Dr. Concrete” – An alternative eco-concrete solution (Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace)


  1. “Shamrock Squad” – Shamrock Squad works with support agencies, service providers and special needs families to assist them re-integrate back into outdoor activities after lockdown (RDI Hub and Dingle Hub)


  1. A Journey from Urban Housing Development to Sustainable Communities” by Brian Fox – A community programme to make housing estates in local communities more energy efficient (Creative Spark)


  1. “Gardeners Dynamic” – Courses in organic gardening and sustainable living skills for the community (Meath Enterprise)


Economic Inequality

  1. “Letitgo” – A community platform for new parents from minority groups focusing on sustainability and mental health (RDI Hub and Dingle Hub)


  1. “United Women” – A group of Refugee and Migrant women living in direct provision in Galway who have come together to support each other and their community. The group aims to tackle barriers of unfair policies and systems that harm women, from racial and gender injustice to economic inequality. The overall goal is to have a positive impact in areas of integration. United Women also have created of ‘Cultural Café’ to give people a taste of international food but also to give a message of a more equal and inclusive Galway (Action Tuam)


  1. “Galway African Diaspora” – Provides a resource for artistic events to the African Community in Galway and beyond creating employment opportunities. Music will be used as a tool for social integration, supporting young artists who have recently arrived in the county and their mental health (Action Tuam)


  1. “Blank Canvas” – Aims to create communities of balance and wellness through activities known to aid mental balance such as sport, music, art, DIY and many more (Meath Enterprise)


Human Wellbeing

  1. “Huri Huri” A social community that leverages eco-anxiety to spur group social action (Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace)


  1. “Sunny Number” – A data skills e-learning platform that makes statistical analyses for academic research easy and stress-free, based in Co. Cork (RDI Hub and Dingle Hub)


  1. “Carers Network Ireland” – Supports, resources and wellness solutions to empower carer professionals and improve the quality of care (Action Tuam)


  1. “Core Ireland Mental Fitness Workplace Wellbeing Programs” – Bespoke workplace wellness programs co-produced with business owners, management and employees, designed to inform, educate and provide everyone with valuable programs for a healthier workplace which will in turn reduce absenteeism, staff turnover and increase productivity (Meath Enterprise)


Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager at CEAI said:

The energy and creativity from individuals at the recent Champion Changemakers regional events around Ireland was incredible. These weekends highlight the importance of collaboration and teamwork when trying to solve the social or environmental challenges we’re currently facing in local communities around Ireland. Social enterprises are essential for delivering products and services that can improve and positively impact peoples’ lives.

All the shortlisted groups and individuals have put social enterprise at the heart of their idea and we’re really looking forward to seeing them present their solutions to environmental, societal, or public realm challenges at the National Pitch-Fest on October 20th. Thank you to all our partners for supporting the Champion Changemakers Events and offering their services as part of the bursary prize – these supports will be of significant benefit to the overall winner in helping them on their journey to turn their idea into reality.”

Fiona Descoteaux from Innovate Communities Ballymun said:

We are delighted to be hosting the national pitch-fest for Champion Changemakers on October 20th 2022. The shortlisted ideas all have such potential to make a real difference to communities around Ireland. We’re looking forward to hearing the final pitches and want to wish all the finalists the best of luck!”

The CEAI would like to thank all their partners for supporting Champion Changemakers and to the organisations contributing their time and services for the Bursary including the Local Enterprise Network, Social Impact Ireland, Rethink Ireland, Arthur Cox, Woods & Partners, Acer and SoftCat plc for their support of Champion Changemakers.

Notes to Editor:

This project was approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The funding allocated is part of the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2021 and is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development in conjunction with Pobal.


About the Community Enterprise Association Ireland

Established over 20 years ago, the Community Enterprise Association Ireland, previously known as the National Association for Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC), is the country’s leading network of enterprise hubs, co-working locations, and flexible working spaces. Government-funded and supported by Enterprise Ireland, the organisation works to drive real innovation and entrepreneurship across local communities and regions.

The Community Enterprise Association Ireland achieves this by continually working to raise the overall quality, environmental and innovative performance of the sector, ensuring the national hub network continues to support the realisation of a sustainable and balanced regional development model for Ireland. As an established and respected voice of the sector, the organisation also confidently represents local enterprise centres/hubs at government level so that all new strategies, policies, and funding programmes take the needs and ambition of each community into account.