€1m awarded to 4 tech for good projects as part of ThinkTech awards

8 Dec 2016

Image: Colm Mahady/Fennell Photography

Four of Ireland’s leading tech-for-good projects have been awarded a total of €1m as part of the ThinkTech project, which invests in teams with bold ideas that create lasting impact in communities.

This is the first year of the ThinkTech project, created as part of a collaboration between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google.

With a total of €1m in funding – provided evenly by both Google and the Government – ThinkTech was established to help non-profit innovators to grow their ideas for a better Ireland.

The project aimed to be run in an almost identical way to those provided by venture capital companies to commercial enterprises.

In total, four projects from various backgrounds were awarded funding, provided as both a cash award and additional non-financial support.

Two of the projects were awarded a total of €220,000 (€170,000 cash and €50,000 non-financial support) including the Alone Platform and FoodCloud Hubs.

The Alone Platform – headed by Seán Moynihan and Dr Rodd Bond – supports older people to live independently at home, by using technology to track and improve wellbeing and combat loneliness.

FoodCloud will be familiar to Siliconrepublic.com readers, having been included in shortlists for a number of awards for rescuing surplus food from businesses and distributing it to charities across Ireland.

ThinkTech award winners

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney, TD, with the award winners. Image: Colm Mahady/Fennell Photography

Next stop, accelerator

For providing access to education for early school leavers through online and personalised learning programmes, Marianne Checkley’s iScoil was awarded €210,000 (€160,000 cash and €50,000 non-financial support).

A final award of €100,000 for an early-stage project was presented to Space Engagers, a Dublin-based effort to tackle homelessness and other challenges by engaging citizens with mapping in their communities.

The four award winners will now take part in an accelerator programme next year devised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, and supported by Google.org and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s CEO Deirdre Mortell said of the winners: “This is about making Ireland better. Creating ThinkTech as the first ever tech-for-good project in Ireland has been an exciting journey.

“69 projects applied and these top four projects demonstrate both excellence and innovation in using technology to solve Ireland’s critical social issues.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic