Thinktech Social Innovation Fund Applications Open

Saturday, 25th June 2016
Filed under: Entrepreneur, Year2016

What is THINKTECH? | Social Innovation Fund

THINKTECH is a €1 million project to support and grow ideas for a better Ireland. Created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland with support from and Government, the THINKTECH challenge identifies innovative ideas that use technology to create positive social impact in Ireland. THINKTECH is seeking proposals that impact lives and touch hearts.

THINKTECH aims to support the most innovative, technology-driven solutions to Ireland’s critical social issues to grow and scale, within Ireland or even beyond. Social Innovation Fund Ireland, and, believe that technology has the power to transform our lives for the better.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate how they will use both technology and innovation to make Ireland better. Proposals could involve a broad range of technologies, should have already demonstrated progress towards measurable social impact, and have the ability to scale or spread across Ireland.

Projects that address any critical social issue in the Republic of Ireland are eligible.

All projects that are up and running may qualify, but THINKTECH has a special interest in projects at the growth stage of development. If there is not yet a minimum viable product, there needs to be strong evidence of your project’s feasibility.

THINKTECH anticipates that winners could be innovating in one of several ways;

  • Has developed a new technology that offers a solution to a critical social issue.
  • Applies an existing technology in a new way or with a new target group.
  • Uses the technology to grow the reach of the solution.

It must be possible to demonstrate a proof-of-concept of the technical solution without the need for significant technical development, i.e. it fits within the framework of NASA: Technology Readiness Levels 4-7.

Social impact criteria

  • The project must address a critical social issue in Ireland.
  • The solution proposed must be innovative in an Irish context.
  • The solution must have potential and a desire to scale or replicate in Ireland (it may also have potential internationally, but this is not a requirement).
  • The solution must provide evidence that it is up and running,and have been tested at least in a minimal way.
  • Could the project create jobs? (Preferable not critical).
  • That it is based on the island of Ireland and will make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland.

Technology criteria

  • The project must use technology as a core part of the solution it offers.
  • The effect of the technology on the critical social issue it tackles is or has the potential to be transformative.
  • Must have access to relevant technology expertise as part of the team (consultant, core team member, or other).
  • It must be possible to demonstrate a proof-of-concept of the technical solution without the need for significant technical development.

Social enterprises, charities, and other not-for-profits are eligible for participation in THINKTECH.

THINKTECH is open for applications until Sunday July 31st 2016.

Awardees will be announced in November 2016, and its five month programme runs from early January to the end of May 2017.

The THINKTECH application form is available from the THINKTECH website please click here.

1. What exactly does THINKTECH offer?


  • Three cash grants of €200,000 each or four cash grants of €150,000 each*
  • Non-financial supports to the value of up to €50,000*
  • A package of Google supports
  • Participation in a five month programme of capacity building focused on growth.

Non-financial supports include growth planning, mentoring, and other supports tailored to the needs of the Awardee. Social Innovation Fund Ireland will open up its networks to the benefit of the Awardees.
Awardees can expect to spend at least two days per month in Dublin as part of the THINKTECH programme.

* The Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland reserves the right to vary the size or number of the cash grants & non-financial supports

2. How many Awards will be made?

Three or four Awards will be made. The Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland reserves the right to vary this based on the quality of the applicants.

3. If I win, when will the grant be paid?

33% of the grant is payable on commencement of the THINKTECH programme and the balance is payable on and is contingent on participation and successful completion of the programme.

4. What can the Awardee spend the funds on?

The funds must be spent on the project which won the Award. The specific use of the funds will be agreed between Social Innovation Fund Ireland and the Awardee during the programme. Funds may not be used to pay off debts or purchase land or buildings.

5. Who will decide who wins the Awards?

Final decisions are made by the Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland, following consultation with, Google Ireland, Department of Environment, Community & Local Government (which will later be the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government), and Tides Foundation. Award decisions are at the sole discretion of the Board of Social Innovation Fund Ireland and are not open to appeal.

6. What is the selection process?

Stage 1: Call for Applications – 21st June to 31st July 2016
Stage 2: Eliminate: Those that do not meet the criteria – August 2016
Stage 3: Screen: Review remaining Applications against the criteria – August 2016
Stage 4: Technology Advisory Group – Expert group reviews feasibility of candidate technologies -August/September 2016
Stage 5: Interview 12-15 Finalists – September 2016
Stage 6: Workshop for Shortlist of Candidates – September 2016
Stage 7: Final due diligence on recommended candidates – October 2016
Stage 8: Decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board – October 2016
Stage 9: Announce Winners – November 2016.

7. How do applicants find out where they are in the selection process?

All applicants will be informed by telephone or email.

8. What projects are not eligible?

  • Projects seeking funding for capital items – buildings, vans, etc.
  • Research projects
  • Party political projects
  • Projects that do not provide a benefit to people or the environment e.g. projects that benefit animals only
  • Projects that screen beneficiaries in or out by faith or religious denomination
  • Projects where the main impact is outside Republic of Ireland
  • Projects that do not include technology as a core element of its impact
  • Projects led by people under 18 years
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started

9. What applicants are not eligible?

  • Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  • Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Google staff, directors and their immediate family members*, are excluded from applying.
  • Applications from non-profits with a director who is a staff member or director of Google or Social Innovation Fund Ireland are also excluded from applying.

* Immediate family member includes sibling, parent, spouse or civil partner, or child.

By applying for THINKTECH, applicants have agreed to the Terms & Conditions.

  • All applicants warrant that they are over 18 years of age.
  • All applicants warrant that they have engaged fully and truthfully with the application process and will engage fully & truthfully with the selection process. This includes providing full and accurate information, both written and verbal, at all stages of the process.
  • All applicants warrant that they are eligible to apply.
  • All applicants warrant that they have the right to apply. This means that they hold the necessary rights to carry out the project, including the technology and other innovations described in the application.
  • All intellectual property rights (incl without limitation trademarks, copyrights, patents, design rights) belonging to the applicant prior to the start of the project remain the property of the applicant. Any intellectual property (incl without limitation trademarks, copyrights, patents, design rights) developed by the applicant during the course of the THINKTECH programme will be the property of the applicant.

By Social Innovation Fund Ireland with support from and Department of The Environment, Community and Local Government

Visit the THINKTECH website for more information