Social Entrepreneurs Ireland: Think Big, Act Now, Change Ireland

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland: Slow down. Take stock. Decelerate.

Not the typical thing you’d expect to hear from an organisation like Social Entrepreneurs Ireland perhaps. We are set up to scale the best solutions for social problems around Ireland. We support projects that have the potential to take an idea and replicate it elsewhere. After all, if we have found a solution to a problem in Wicklow, shouldn’t we be implementing this in other counties around Ireland? If we have found a more effective or more efficient way of doing something, shouldn’t more people benefit from the positive impact?

And it is a core trait of all entrepreneurs that they want to grow and develop their idea, to reach as many people as possible, to impact upon the world. As Steve Jobs said, entrepreneurs want to ‘make a dent in the universe’.

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

At Social Entrepreneurs Ireland we love that attitude. Our slogan is ‘Think Big. Act Now. Change Ireland’ and it is because of this passion and the potential to significantly impact Ireland that we work with social entrepreneurs.

But over the last 10 years we have learned that all of this should come with a small note of caution. The rush to scale projects, to work with more people and to increase your impact, while totally understandable,  is potentially counter-productive. Our experience has taught us that often what some of the most exciting projects need is a period of deceleration before they can think seriously about acceleration.

Getting the Model Right

Before you can deliver a solution at scale, it is vital to delve deeply into the core service, product or solution that you are delivering. And once that is clear, the scaling model needs to be clearly developed and defined before starting to roll it out. We have seen it many times that early success is seized upon and attempts are made to replicate something before it is ready. And the danger is that a really powerful idea might fail and as a result be written off.

Is your model scalable? Is it sustainable? Can you replicate the core elements of it or is it dependent on the actions of a few key individuals? Do you have the capacity to deliver at a bigger scale?

At SEI we now take a lot of time at the beginning of the Awards Programme to work through all of these things with the entrepreneurs, and only move to scaling conversations once the fundamentals are in place.


Another challenge that we have seen in recent years is that big, exciting ideas often receive a huge amount of attention very quickly. In particular, projects led by young social entrepreneurs can receive a lot of interest from media, potential partners and supporters. While this support and coverage is potentially transformational for the entrepreneur, the risk is that they may become over-exposed, they may burn out, or they may just be distracted by all of the noise, events and attention, to the detriment of their projects. In these cases they may not fulfil the early potential that their projects have.

Learnings for SEI and for Social Entrepreneurs

Indeed, this is a challenging issue for us in SEI, as our Awards Programme celebrates these social entrepreneurs quite publicly. It is a constant challenge for us to find the right balance between protecting the social entrepreneurs and showcasing their work. I’m not sure we’ve always gotten it right but we are constantly working on it.

Over the years at SEI we have changed and adapted our approach and now have a much more nuanced approach to how we work with social entrepreneurs. We are very conscious that sometimes the best thing we can provide a project is to give thempermission to decelerate for a while, to take a breath, to take stock, to slow down, so that when they do choose to scale, they are ready to give it absolutely everything.


Darren Ryan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

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Deko Foods – Ethnic Food Producer to Create 20 Jobs in Meath

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD welcomed the announcement that a UK-based company will establish operations in Meath, creating 20 jobs.

The jobs being created are with white-label ethnic food producers Deko Foods Ltd.

The company was introduced to Ireland through ConnectIreland, the company responsible for delivering the Government’s Succeed in Ireland initiative, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, in association with IDA Ireland. Enterprise Ireland has also been instrumental in helping the company to establish in Ireland.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Damien English, T.D., said; “I am delighted that Deko Foods has decided to establish a base in Kells.  This adds to a growing number of companies who have chosen Meath to set up their business.

ConnectIreland Project

“This announcement is another ConnectIreland project that is being supported by the enterprise agencies and is a great example of how local communities can work to win valuable new jobs for Ireland and, in particular, regional areas throughout Ireland.”

Deko Foods Ltd is a specialist white-label manufacturer catering for the Afro-Caribbean and South-American segments of the worldwide ethnic foods market. In order to meet international demand for their food and drink products, Deko Foods will establish a processing plant in Kells Business Park.

The company, which will focus on manufacturing dry, non-perishable food items at the Kells base before expanding, hopes to hire 20 employees in the coming three years. Recruitment is already underway for a number of junior positions, including full and part-time warehousing staff and administration.

CEO of Deko Foods

Yomi Aiyegbusi, Founder and CEO of Deko Foods, said: “We chose Kells, due to its close proximity to both Dublin’s seaport and airport, and also because we found a suitable premises there, ideal for our type of operation. Another incentive was the level of government support and funding provided to new businesses choosing to locate in the Kells area; it’s exceptionally higher than other regions.

“I was also introduced to several other food producers and packagers in the area, all of whom assured me that Kells and its neighbouring towns could provide the necessary resources my business requires, like the right staff. I currently need to recruit an office manager, receptionist, warehouse clerk, forklift operator and four production staff.

“Ireland is perfect for us as it has a rich agricultural heritage and because of its proximity to the UK, where we have an established consumer base. Aside from its English speaking, highly literate population and its attractive tax system, another attraction was the many incentives Ireland provides to new and foreign businesses, especially those that are export-driven or invest heavily in R&D.

“As most of our revenue is generated from export sales and we invest heavily in R&D and NPD, these were significant deciding factors for us. But the ultimate deciding factor was not only Ireland’s hospitable and relaxed nature but also because Ireland is a progressive EU nation that encourages entrepreneurship and is slowly becoming a cosmopolitan hub for not only European but world business. We wished to be part of that progress.”

The company was introduced to ConnectIreland by local Meath man Hugh Morris. Hugh previously introduced Luxembourg-based company Mafic to ConnectIreland, and the subsequently located in Kells. Simply by striking up a conversation and asking companies to consider Ireland, Hugh has now been instrumental in securing 110 jobs for his local area.


Kevin Stewart, Meath County Council; Joanna Murphy, COO ConnectIreland; Minister for Skills, Damien English TD; Yomi Aiyegbusi, Deko Foods; Hugh Morris, Connector; and Nick Marmion from Enterprise Ireland celebrate the announcement of 20 jobs for Kells


Michael McLoughlin CEO of ConnectIreland commented: “Securing companies like Deko Foods for regional areas is testament to the great work being done by connectors right across the globe. Simply by asking the question ‘have you considered Ireland’, people like Hugh are helping to create job opportunities in their own counties. This company was considering locating in Spain until Hugh introduced them to ConnectIreland.”

This announcement brings the number of projects created in Meath by ConnectIreland under the Succeed in Ireland initiative to five, creating a total of 160 jobs in the region. Four firms have located in Kells, a fifth in Gibbstown.

Michael Cantwell, Divisional Director with Enterprise Ireland added: “This is great news for Meath and EI congratulate ConnectIreland and warmly welcome this food Foreign Direct Investment from Deko Foods. Enterprise Ireland’s Food Division will continue to work with the management as they build their manufacturing operations in Ireland.”

Register as a connector and you could earn a reward of up to €1,500 per job created (maximum 100 jobs).

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Japanese Electronics Company Brings European Expansion to Dublin

SMK Corporation, a multinational electro-mechanical component manufacturer headquartered in Tokyo Japan is to establish a new European Headquarters in Dublin.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today (Thursday, April 9) announced that the Japanese company will create 11 jobs over three years.

SMK designs and produces a wide range of products for the electronics sector including connectors and switches, remote control units and touch screens. Demand for SMK products is driven by the requirements of a new generation of communications devices such as smart phones and tablets, as well as a proliferation of Pay TV Services and ever-increasing Electronic content in vehicles. The company works closely with clients in new product development and boasts many household name clients in these sectors.

SMK Electronics (Europe) Limited in Ireland will co-ordinate the activities of the company’s sales and design operations in Europe and will employ seven people initially.  The new European HQ will be located at Northwood Business Park and will be overseen by Mr. Paul Evans, Corporate Executive VP.

Originally from Dublin, Mr. Evans is a 30-year veteran of SMK and in 2006 was appointed SMK’s first non-Japanese Vice President.

SMK was introduced to Ireland through ConnectIreland, the company responsible for delivering the Government’s Succeed in Ireland initiative, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, in association with IDA Ireland.


Michael McLoughlin, CEO, ConnectIreland; Emer Cusack, Project Manager, Growth Markets Team, IDA Ireland; Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton TD; and Paul Evans, Corporate Executive VP, SMK Corporation at the announcement that SMK will establish a European base in Dublin


Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said:  “I am delighted that SMK has chosen Ireland as the location for its new European Headquarters.  The availability of talent was a key consideration for the company and once again highlights the attractiveness of Ireland’s well educated workforce to foreign direct investment.  The announcement is another ConnectIreland project supported by my Department through IDA Ireland and is another example of how companies leading in their field are establishing in Ireland.  I wish SMK every success for the future. 

Paul Evans, Corporate Executive VP, SMK Corporation said:  “We considered a number of locations for our new European Headquarters including Germany, England and the Netherlands.  We chose Ireland because of the availability of highly skilled professionals and the business friendly environment.  ConnectIreland’s support enabled us to establish our new European HQ in Dublin far more quickly than we could have in any other location we considered.   

“We expect to create seven jobs in Dublin and given the rapid growth of our business in Europe, we expect our Dublin HQ to play a central role in our expansion over the next 10 years.  As our business in Europe grows, Dublin can expect to benefit from that growth”.


Michael McLoughlin, ConnectIreland CEO, said: “We are delighted that as SMK Corporation celebrate 90 years in business this year that they have chosen Ireland as a strategic centre for their next phase of growth in Europe.  The creation of seven financial and general management positions in the coming 12 months is very welcome and brings to over 1,100 the number of jobs created in Ireland through the Government’s Succeed in Ireland initiative. We are delighted to have worked with SMK and wish them every success in Ireland as they continue to expand their workforce to 11 over the coming three years.”

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Calling all Innovators & Entrepreneurs, we need your help & your green VOTE !!

As with any Irish technology company, we all suffer unique challenges when growing business internationally. As a country we have a small population so we struggle when trying to make as much noise as our International competitors. Even places we assume are tiny states such as Haiti & Togo have twice and three times our population.

Hence we need your help…

One of our company’s, Surface Power HONE which has developed a revolutionary “daylight” powered Nano-heat engine technology is short-listed (final 18 was judged by experts) for the 2Degrees Champions Award –  “Innovation of the Year” which is the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 46,500 members from 177 countries.

Surface Power HONE has nearly 7,000 installations of this patented technology over 8 countries to date and it has been kept fairly secretive until recently. The technology was field tested in the West of Ireland & New Zealand as the daylight levels are some of the lowest in the OECD. In short, it replaces the use of oil and gas for heating and cooling with free daylight. Have a look at LIVE customers on our website such as the UK National Health Service running their hospital’s central heating on free “daylight” (sounds mad but true !!)

The next phase of the 2Degrees “Innovation of the Year Awards” is a voting stage which will reduce the final 18 to 5 for the big awards ceremony and we need your help and your vote. 

Although already in the short-list of 18, we are the only Irish Technology company in this shortlist and are up against huge players such as Nestle, General Motors & B&Q.

You can vote for us by clicking the link below to get us into the final 5 and we thank you in advance for that vote. Be sure to tweet it afterwards using the link so we can personally send you a thank you tweet. Go raibh maith agat as do chabhair.

Best Regards, John Quinn, CEO. (Twitter – @johnquinn_irl )

Read our story and VOTE from below.

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QRVO: Print Partners Opportunities

QRVO is an innovative Information Gateway suitable for numerous advertising/branding and promotional applications. Based on the original QR code, developed by Denso Wave, the high capacity code now offers greater flexibility, a consumer friendly voice over and is linked to Analytics. The Alpha Numeric code is provided in a print ready format, with selected customer, text, graphics, and video, content.

Users simply scan the code with a Smart Phone or Mobile device, no URLs, no password, no user details. Content is a near immediate download. Most Smart Phones now have inbuilt scan options

QRVO clients determine the content. The level of scan activity can be monitored by Analytics. The code remains intact and the content can be changed remotely. The client determines the content, evaluates the campaign and can alter the content to match demand.

QRVO Print Partner network in Ireland

We are seeking to establish a QRVO Print Partner network in Ireland. This offers an integrated upsell opportunity to the print sector. The QRVO code is a major additional promotional/marketing/advertising tool for the existing customer base. The once humble business card will continue to display primary contact details, and can offer a video presentation on a new service or product. Some customers may opt to provide a special offer, voucher.

The bespoke QRVO is provided in a print ready format. The customer determines the content and deployment. The code can be deployed on business cards, conventional publication, brochures, Labels, till receipts, headed paper, outgoing mails, signage and packaging. Most importantly the customer can determine the effectiveness through Analytics.

In a marketplace where customer engagement is critical QRVO is simple, customer friendly, innovative and that vital engagement can be evaluated.

If you feel this outline is of interest and merits further discussion, please email to contact our sales team

Based on the original code developed by Denso wave, QRVO is re-engineered in Castlebar County Mayo

This document contains information that is confidential to QRVO and all Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights in this document and all information contained in it shall vest in QRVO”

Witten by John Moran | QRVO Business Development 087 25 27 407. As part of ‘Use SBC as a channel initiative, QRVO has a special 10% discount on Standard QRVO orders to SBC members and readers.

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