Posted by The Tuam Herald in News.

An Athenry-based social enterprise led by a father-and-son team has been announced as a finalist in this year’s Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards.

Amicitia is a health and social care company set up by Billy and Patrick Mulvihill, who are now in the running for €600.000 in funding along with 17 other enterprise projects from around Ireland.

Billy Mulvihill lives in Claregalway while his son, Patrick (33), is now based in Dublin.

The company will be based in Athenry and provides flexible employment opportunities for people with disabilities to handle alarm calls from the elderly in the local community, improving security and reducing social isolation.

“The current caregiving infrastructure is insufficient to support a growing elderly population,” explained Patrick. “Meanwhile, Ireland’s disabled population suffers disproportionally from unemployment. We aim to connect these two communities through modern ICT systems and community currency.”

Amicitia has been named a finalist in the Elevator Programme, which provides €30,000 of funding and support over 1 year. The Elevator Programme focuses on early-stage social entrepreneurs to help them refine their solutions and accelerate the impact of their work.

The prestigious social-funding competition, now in its twelfth year, has supported 190 social entrepreneurs to date and invested €6.2m in direct funding to projects in areas including community and active citizenship, education and learning, environment and sustainability and mental and physical health.

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland received over 170 applications this year and selected 50 to attend Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Bootcamp at the RDS, Dublin, where participants pitched their project to a panel of judges in a high-stakes, intensive competition.

This year, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland will provide €600,000 in funding and support to nine social entrepreneurs from across Ireland. These awards equip social entrepreneurs to positively impact their communities and beyond. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in October 2016.

“In Ireland today we aren’t solving problems quickly enough and this process is all about empowering people to bring about change right across Ireland,” said Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.