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Creative Spark Downtown looking for budding social entrepreneurs to take part in Champion Changemaker challenge


Siobhán Finn CEAI, Gary O'Meara CEAI, Ciara Breen Creative Spark, and Niamh Gregory Creative Spark

Siobhán Finn CEAI, Gary O'Meara CEAI, Ciara Breen Creative Spark, and Niamh Gregory Creative Spark

Siobhán Finn CEAI, Gary O'Meara CEAI, Ciara Breen Creative Spark, and Niamh Gregory Creative Spark


The team at the Creative Spark Downtown Hub are looking for people who have ideas for social enterprises to come forward and take part in a social innovators ‘hackathon’ weekend in September.

This weekend, which gets underway on Friday September 23rd,  is one of 6 regional events being held around the country, at which a champion will be selected go forward to the national final where the overall Champion Changemaker will be awarded a bursary of supports to help bring their idea on to a sustainable social enterprise.

People will be asked to come along on the weekend with ideas for solving social challenges in their local communities. The weekend will comprise a ‘Dragon’s Den’ type event with  the selected Champion going forward to a national Pitch-Fest in Dublin on October 20th.

It’s envisaged that Champion Changemakers will contribute to Ireland’s progress in overcoming challenges facing communities nationwide including youth unemployment, poverty, social injustice and the climates crisis, which will in turn help mobilise efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030.

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Successful social enterprises already up and running in Ireland include Triftify, G.I.Y,  Food Cloud,  Too Good to Go, Refill Ireland and Mens Sheds.

“Dundalk is a large urban town with a great sense of community activism and creative thinkers,” Ciara Breen, Manager, Creative Spark Downtown Dundalk said. “With the current economic and social challenges, we’re facing locally and globally we are really excited to see what ideas will spring from the Champion Changemakers weekend at Creative Spark Downtown Hub. One of the key motivations around the opening of Creative Spark Downtown Hub was to support the regeneration of Dundalk Town Centre, so it feels fitting to hold a social innovation “hackathon” in our hub”.

“Social enterprises are key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, delivering products and services primarily to improve the lives of people in communities around Ireland,” Siobhan Finn, Hub Network Manager at Community Enterprise Association Ireland, said.

"The aim of this initiative is to empower, educate and inspire individuals to create concepts which can be turned into tangible products or services which could potentially solve large scale societal problems. Another key objective is to equip people with the skillset to start their social enterprises from scratch - including idea generation, how to market test and how to create impact for communities. The CEAI is grateful to receive this funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development under the 2021 Arise Scheme enabling us to run this initiative. We are looking forward to seeing the innovation and talent of local changemakers representative of diverse community groups around the country come together to present their solutions for environmental, societal, or public realm challenges in their local communities.”

Anyone interested in taking part should  isit Community Enterprise Association Ireland’s website for details on how to sign-up. Anybody interested will be given the opportunity to work with local mentors to develop their idea and to get help to present and pitch it to a panel of experts in their local hub across the weekend of September 23rd 2022