Social Enterprise FoodCloud will aim to double its impact over the next three years after securing significant investment from AIB, with part matched Government funding through Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI).
Over the next three years, AIB has committed to investing €500,000 per annum in FoodCloud. This will be further supported by financial and non-financial supports to the value of €330,000 per annum for 3 years from SIFI’s new Growth Fund which has been established by the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The Growth Fund invests in established organisations that have completed one of Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s programmes and are ready to secure significant growth capital to achieve significant scale and deepen their impact.
Founded in 2013 by Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, FoodCloud is the first company to receive investment from the new SIFI Growth Fund. The funding will be used to invest in the further development of FoodCloud’s bespoke technology platform, the expansion of FoodCloud Hubs and the development of new services to support the redistribution of surplus food.
After a period of very fast growth over the last 5 years, this funding will allow FoodCloud to invest in future proofing of their bespoke retailer technology in Ireland, building a resilient tech solution that can support the projected growth in 2018-2020. The funding will also support the expansion of FoodCloud Hubs to deliver an improved service to both charity and Food Industry partners.
Seán Canney, T.D, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, said: “FoodCloud is a wonderful example of the impact of social enterprise in Ireland. A simple concept to match retailers with surplus food and charities has seen some 40 million meals distributed to date. Food donations provide essential support to charities by enabling them to save money on their food bills, in some instances up to 80%, which they instead can redirect to improving their services to the people they support. I am delighted that my Department, through Social Innovation Fund Ireland, can part-match AIB’s significant investment, which will help FoodCloud broaden its reach and deepen its impact.”
Iseult Ward, Co-CEO, FoodCloud said: “The investment from AIB and SIFI through the new Growth Fund is transformational for our company. The multi-year partnership gives us security and certainty in relation to our fundraising income, allowing us to take a longer-term view, focusing on activating our plans for future growth, to realise our targets as set out in our strategic plan and freeing up the resources that would previously focused on fundraising alone.
We’ve ambitious targets for the future aiming for a 100% increase in food rescued, leading to a 100% reduction CO2 emission and an increase in beneficiaries to approximately 130,000 people across Ireland.”
Jim O’Keefe, Head of Financial Solutions Group, AIB said: “We are always looking for new ways to back Irish businesses and organisations that are making a difference for communities across Ireland, and have recently launched a nationwide community investment programme, focused on the social themes of Youth and Education and Innovative Social Entrepreneurship. We’re delighted to partner with Social Innovation Fund Ireland and its new Growth Fund and to back its first awardee, FoodCloud, to not only continue their fantastic work but also help them expand and evolve as an organisation that’s having real impact in Irish society.”
Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) said: “Through the THINKTECH Fund with Google in 2017, we worked with FoodCloud to clarify its strategy, define its challenges, and set out its strategic plan for the coming years. With the support of the Growth Fund, FoodCloud will be able to fully realise their impact targets as set out in their strategic plan. We’re looking forward to working with FoodCloud again in helping them achieve transformative change for food charities and organisations across the country and bring their social enterprise to the next level of impact and viability.’’
Separately, AIB has announced that it is directly investing €100,000 into FoodCloud as well as establishing an employee volunteering programme for FoodCloud as a result. AIB’s 10,000 staff in communities across the country will have the chance to volunteer with FoodCloud. AIB is tapping into its branch network to help drive charity awareness and recruitment for FoodCloud. The partnership will also help drive a direct increase in food donations to charities by creating an awareness of FoodCloud’s work within the Irish Food Manufacturing sector