Iseult Ward, the Trinity College Dublin graduate behind FoodCloud, has been featured in Time magazine’s second ever Next Generation Leaders series.
A “speechless” Ward was listed alongside six other youngsters who “have not just succeeded in their fields but have also persuaded others to share their vision”.
FoodCloud – a business formerly featured in Siliconrepublic.com’s Tech Start-up of the Week – is a Dublin-based social enterprise that via a smartphone app links businesses that have surplus food to charities and local community groups so nothing goes to waste and it all goes to a good cause.
Ward, CEO of the company, was studying business at Trinity when the idea for FoodCloud formed.
“In February 2012, I went along to an event in college and I met Aoibheann O’Brien, the co-founder of FoodCloud, and we got talking basically about how much food is wasted and how little is happening in Ireland (to combat that),” Ward explained to Time.
“There was only one tiny, registered food bank in Ireland at the time and internationally, like in the UK and Europe, there are networks of food banks that were dealing with the problem. So we both thought that we’d work on it and do something together.”
What initially started as a link between a farmers’ market and a charity – whereby the charity turned up at the end of the day to take any unsold food off the farmers’ hands – has now turned into an service that’s taking the country by storm.
Expansion and Tesco partnership
Using the app or the website, businesses who have registered with FoodCloud can upload details of their surplus food and the time period in which the food can be collected.
The app then automatically sends a text message to the nearest community organisation in that area and they can collect the food. If the organisation rejects the offer it is then sent to the next nearest organisation and so on.
FoodCloud has since expanded into Belfast, while Ward and her team have even gone into partnership with Tesco, one of the leading supermarkets in Ireland.
“(Tesco) were one of our first businesses, from back when we were literally cold-calling up everyone in Ireland trying to get businesses to sign up with the app,” said Ward, who claims she and her team were just “very lucky” that Tesco would meet.
“We literally just went into a Tesco and said that we had heard feedback from charities and we (want to start) working with you. They agreed to do a trial in one of their stores and then they expanded the trial. In July, we entered into a national partnership with them so at the moment we’re expanding into their 146 stores across Ireland.”
Quite clearly, Ward is a person going places, and helping out numerous people along the way.
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.