Finalists Announced for THINKTECH

Finalists of THINKTECH €1 million project to develop ideas for a better Ireland announced 

  • Ideas to combat cyber bullying, social isolation of the elderly, and develop a new education path for early school leavers among finalists 
  • THINKTECH Initiative supported by and Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government

TT Finalists image

Dublin, 22nd September, 2016: THINKTECH, a €1 million project to grow ideas for a better Ireland today announced the 11 finalists who will compete for access to an award fund of up to €750,000 in grants as well as support and mentoring to further develop their social innovations.  The finalists will take part in a development programme devised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland and supported by & the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, with the overall award recipients announced in December at an Awards ceremony at Google’s EMEA HQ in Dublin.  

THINKTECH was recently launched by Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, Simon Coveney, TD. which has granted matched funding of €500,000 to a €500,000 donation by The initiative is a collaboration between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and, the philanthropic arm of Google which invests in teams with bold ideas that create lasting global impact.  

*The 11 finalists announced today are: ALONE/NetwellCASALA, ChangeX, Cybersmarties, Foodcloud, iScoil, The Freebird Club, ThirdAge/Agewell, Thriftify, SourceIT, Student Volunteer and An Cosán Virtual College Community/ AONTAS.  

Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., said, “I am delighted to see such a wide range of impactful technology-driven solutions to the social issues we all want to see resolved in Ireland, and look forward to meeting the final Awardees.”

Director of, Jacquelline Fuller said: “These ideas are becoming a reality and addressing a wide range of social issues. For example they include a social network that is helping to combat cyberbullying, and projects that are providing new ways to access education for early school leavers and marginalised communities, as well as ways that technology can help to reduce the isolation of older people in Irish communities.  We see great potential for these ideas to make a lasting impact and they also demonstrate Google’s view that technology has the power to make a real difference and create positive change in society.”

CEO Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Deirdre Mortell said: “The shortlisted projects selected have already demonstrated progress towards measurable social impact; they have the ability to scale across Ireland; and have identified a wide range of technology solutions including hardware, software, online platforms and apps to deliver their ideas.”

She added, “Out of almost 70 applications received we have managed to select 11 of the most promising and in our view important innovative ideas that use technology to help to improve lives and create a better Ireland. From a diversity perspective, encouragingly 54% of the applications received were ideas spearheaded by female founders.”


The short-listed finalists will now present their proposals to an interview panel made-up of business and social sector leaders in Dublin this week.  

THINKTECH Finalists interviewers will include Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner, Atlantic Bridge Partners;  Rosheen McGuckian, CEO, NTR plc & SIFI Board member;  Terence O’Rourke, Chairman, SIFI & Enterprise Ireland;  Dr Paul Gilligan, CEO St Patrick’s University Hospital; Dalton Philips, SIFI Board member & Boston Consulting Group;  Mark Adair of Mason Hayes & Curran; Anne Connolly, CEO Irish Smart Aging Exchange; Gilliane Quinn de Schonen, Founder Zumo; Bobbie Bergin, Director of Corporate Affairs, AIB; Andrew Dunckelman,; Brendan Whelan, CEO Social Finance Foundation; Faye Drouillard, and Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland.


This will be followed by a Finalists’ Workshop on Thursday, September 29th in Dublin, with sessions from technology entrepreneur and investor Shane Deasy, and digital business experts from Google, Dublin.


*Full list of finalists:










Enhancing the quality of life of older people and those who care for them by helping them to self manage their living conditions and strengthen their support network.



Helping to develop communities through sharing developed ideas on an online platform.



Teaching positive behaviour online and combatting cyberbullying through a social network for primary school children.



Combatting food waste and hunger by using technology to connect retailers with charities.



Educating early school leavers and socially disadvantaged young people through a personalised online education programme.

The Freebird Club


A travel based social network offering a peer to peer home stay for older adults. Creating a new source of income and companionship in later life.  



Employing older people (‘Agewells’) as companions for elderly people in need of assistance at home or recently discharged from hospital, relying on the use of apps.



Helping charities to sell unsold donated stock online to a global market and re-divert from landfill or recycling.  



Empowering and supporting environmental social enterprises to improve their efficiency, effectiveness and visibility through an online technology platform


Student Volunteer


Online volunteer platform connecting student volunteers with community projects that need help.

An Cosán Virtual College Community / AONTAS


Offer a blended learning model for adult school leavers to increase their employment opportunities.