Posted on Wednesday 16 November 2011 by Ulster Business

Diageo wants local applications for Arthur Guinness Fund

Diageo Northern Ireland is calling on local social entrepreneurs to apply to the 2012 Arthur Guinness Fund by the end of this month

Pictured at the Colin Glen Community Gardens, Belfast are Mick McEveoy from ‘Grow It Yourself’, Kieran Harding from Business in the Community and Clare Strawson from Diageo Northern Ireland.

Successful applicants will be eligible to receive between €50,000 and €100,000 each.

Social entrepreneurs are defined as people running projects that are committed to making a positive and sustainable impact on communities, with €1.65m of funding having already been awarded to a wide range of projects. Applications for this year’s funding close on November 30.

Funding is available to Northern Irish social entrepreneurs under two main categories. Firstly, established projects (termed as take-off projects) who have a proven working model in operation for between two to five years and can demonstrate the long term impact they are having in their community, are eligible to receive financial support up to €100,000. This funding will be provided over two years along with a comprehensive business mentoring programme with a view to taking their work to the next level. This includes additional expertise and practical support from Diageo Ireland through workshops, seminars and training.

Secondly, projects that have been established in the last two years (termed as start up projects) can apply to receive up to €50,000 in funding plus professional mentoring support over two years. This award is specifically aimed at start up projects that require a springboard to help turn their vision into a reality.

Clare Strawson, Corporate Relations, Diageo Northern Ireland said: “In the past, Northern Ireland has been underrepresented for funding applications to the Arthur Guinness Fund and this year we would like to see that change.

“The Arthur Guinness Fund provides a much needed spark to bring about long lasting positive change in our society. We recognise how difficult it can be for projects like these to secure funding and professional business mentoring.”

Since its inception, substantial funding and professional business support has been provided to 20 social entrepreneurs. Their work focuses on a broad range of areas including creating employment opportunities for the disabled, returning former-prisoners to work, shaping the right environment for men to re-build their self-esteem during unemployment and much more.

Those interested in applying the Arthur Guinness Fund can download an application form from www.guinness.com/arthurguinnessfund.

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