Monday, June 24, 2013

Adtruism - The End of Slacktivism

Adtruism 'End of Slacktivism' Promo Video

Today sees the launch of social-tech start-up Adtruism. The new service allows anyone with a website or blog to effortlessly raise money for a worthy cause without asking for donations. An Adtruism widget, once placed on the website, displays commercial advertisements and Adtruism (a non-profit) transfers 100% of the ad-revenue to the chosen charity.

Student founder Brian McCormick hacked together a demo site in May of last year and got a great response from the online community. Developing the website and software in his spare time while studying law at UCD, he delayed launching the scalable platform until he had completed his finals.

Adtruism is being supported by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland through their Awards program and will receive between €33,000 and €200,000 worth of funding and support this October. Adtruism also receives pro bono support from companies including KPMG and ZEDO.

Worthy causes currently supported include the Make a Wish Foundation, UNICEF, and Doctors without Borders. Our growing network of socially responsible advertisers includes and Horizon, and Adtruism is currently being run by a team of student volunteers from UCD and Trinity.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Digital Masterplan for Dublin

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, today launched the Digital Masterplan for Dublin with the Vice President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes. The Digital Masterplan is a roadmap for Ireland's Smart Economy and society.

Integral to the Masterplan is the development of the Digital Maturity Scorecard (DMS), an analytical tool to benchmark Dublin’s digital performance internationally. The Scorecard is a world first and was developed by Intel, Maynooth’s Innovation Value Institute and Dublin City University.

The Masterplan lays out 7 “Big Ticket” actions to be completed.

The first action is to provide a minimum of 100MB speed fibre broadband to every home in the Dublin region by Easter 2016. Fast, reliable and cost-competitive broadband infrastructure is critical to the development of Dublin as a smart city region and an ICT hub for Europe. The aim is that Fibre in the home should be as easy as buying shelves in your local DIY.

The second action is the development of a flagship Digital Accelerator District (DAD) programme. This programme aims to build on existing digital hotspots and initiatives in Dublin including; Dogpatch Labs and the Digital Hub amongst others.

The third action is to support improved ways of working between multi-nationals and indigenous SMEs. The Digital Masterplan outlines the need for indigenous SMEs to enter the supply chain of multi-national corporations in order to deliver a substantial expansion of eCommerce trading and digital business. This plan proposes to partner with the SME representative organisations (ISME, IIA, SFA, Chamber of Commerce) to develop a web based portal for Dublin based multi-nationals to auction packages of digital/innovation/R&D work to the local SME market.

The fourth action is an online ‘Dublin Storefront’ project. This will involve the activation and expansion of work already being undertaken by other organisations in developing an online presence and the use of digital systems by Irish business. There is a requirement to build on this work and create an eCommerce and digital adoption support platform targeting businesses in the non ICT sector such as food, hotels, construction and other small start-ups. This work will facilitate the development of a globally promoted digital ‘Created in Dublin’ brand.

The fifth action is to create a network of Digital Cities where ideas are generated and shared, involving a remodelling of the website and targeted at sister cities.

The sixth action is a commitment by Dublin City Council to make information in relation to all services ‘Available as Digital’.

The seventh action involves the commitment by Local and National Government to establish programmes to support the development of digital skills in communities, government organisations, young people and adults.

Commenting on the launch, the Lord Mayor said: “Spearheaded by Dublin City Council, the Digital Dublin Masterplan seeks to create a truly digital city – one which embraces technology and innovation as means to improving the way we live, work and enjoy Dublin. It challenges national and local government to put technology and innovation to the forefront of everything we do in Dublin.

He continued: “We, as citizens of Dublin, must work together to ensure the success of this plan, which will reap rewards for everyone in the city in terms of quality of life, business development and job creation. We want to see Dubliners becoming ‘DigiDubs’ - digitally active and engaged citizens - who will submit ideas to shape the digital future for the city of Dublin.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ben & Jerry’s and Ashoka Select CoderDojo as Ireland’s Top Social Entrepreneur

James Whelton, Co-founder of CoderDojo

An expert panel of business minds led by Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield has crowned the nine winners of this year’s Join Our Core competition, to find Europe’s finest young social entrepreneurs – with Irish organisation; CoderDojo scooping the Irish ice cream accolade.

After impressing at the competition’s finale in London where finalists pitched ideas to 10 of Europe’s top ethical business minds, the nine winners which includes CoderDojo have each scooped a whopping €10,000. Of equal importance to the entrepreneurs, they will also receive expert business mentoring from Ashoka, the world’s leading network of social entrepreneurs.

The winners will have their business logo featured on an exclusive Ben & Jerry’s tub in 2014. In addition, each has also bagged a trip to Ben & Jerry’s birthplace in Vermont, USA, where they will gain additional training and hear from US based entrepreneurs and socially responsible business leaders.

Cork based, CoderDojo was crowned the Irish winner of Join Our Core 2013, with its Irish led global movement teaching young people how to code, develop websites, apps, games and more, in a social, collaborative learning environment. Speaking from the final in London, James Whelton, Co-founder of CoderDojo comments; “Join Our Core has been such an amazing experience, getting to pitch to a panel that included Jerry Greenfield was one I won’t forget! We’re thrilled to have won and can’t wait to visit Ben & Jerry’s home turf plus see CoderDojo’s logo on a Ben & Jerry’s tub next year!”

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield said: “This year’s Join Our Core competition was extremely competitive. All of the finalists are worthy entrepreneurs with aspirations of operating businesses formed to directly address social or environmental problems in our global community. We loved the ethos and vision of CoderDojo, they are a worthy winner of Join Our Core. I’m looking forward to seeing them on a tub next year!”

Hailing from each of the competition’s nine competing countries, the winners were whittled down from over 430 entries and selected from a final 18 after impressing a panel that included Ashoka’s Paul O’Hara.

Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka commented: “The Join Our Core winners show a motivation from deep within to serve the whole and to make sure solutions are sustainable, fair and efficient.”

Returning bigger and chunkier for its second year, Join Our Core is inspired by Ben & Jerry’s and Ashoka’s dream to find young business mooo-vers that share the philosophy of people being as important as profit, which has seen the 2013 competition expanded from five to nine European countries – the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria and Switzerland.

For further information about the Join Our Core 2013 winners and the prizes they have won please visit

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bushmills Irish Whiskey Sets Up Legacy Fund for Emerging Artists

David C Clements and VerseChorusVerse announced as first recipients of £20,000 fund

Bushmills Irish Whiskey and artist development company Third Bar – made up of Snow Patrol lead singer, Gary Lightbody and Davy Matchett – today announced that they have joined forces to create and curate the Bushmills Live Legacy Fund.

Bushmills Live, the handcrafted whiskey and music festival, is a platform for established and emerging indie talent. This year the festival organisers wanted to take their commitment to supporting up-and-coming talent one step further and set up this Fund of £10,000. Recognising the significance this held for Northern Irish talent, Third Bar’s directors Gary and Davy pledged to curate and match this fund, creating a trust of £20,000 in total. They have selected two exciting emerging Northern Irish artists as recipients: David C Clements and VerseChorusVerse.

David C. Clements, 27, has an ongoing association with the brand having performed at Bushmills Live preview gigs ‘Bushmills Live In The City’ in both Belfast and Dublin. Last year he entertained the crowds at Bushmills Live 2012 and since then has shared a stage with Ed Sheeran, co-written songs with Gary Lightbody and performed exclusive tracks for E4.

VerseChorusVerse, aka Tony Wright, 29, founder of ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’, has recently finished recording his highly anticipated debut album with fellow Bushmills Live performer and Ivor Novello winner, Iain Archer, which is due for release later this year. He also took to the stage to perform intimate gigs in Belfast and Dublin to help celebrate the launch of Bushmills Irish Honey - the latest addition to the Bushmills collection of premium blends and single malts.

The team at Third Bar will be working with both to offer advice and guidance on the right places to invest their Fund. Additionally, Bushmills will be lending a performance platform to the two artists at this year’s Bushmills Live. Both artists will be taking to the stage on 20th June alongside headliners Of Monsters and Men, Jake Bugg, Sons and Lovers, Willy Mason, Bear’s Den, Iain Archer and Foy Vance.

Gary Lightbody’s passion for the Northern Irish music scene saw him donate Snow Patrol’s fee for headlining Bushmills Live last year to the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast. This donation led to the creation of Bush Gardens – Belfast’s largest rooftop performance space.

He commented: “It’s no secret that I am a passionate supporter of the Northern Irish music scene. Davy and I have been friends since school and we set up Third Bar together to help advise up-and-coming artists in the music industry which is why I think it is brilliant that the Bushmills brand is prepared to get involved at this grass roots level and put their money where their mouth is.”

He added: “I am a big fan of both David and VerseChorusVerse, having watched them both live – they have incredible stage presence and fantastic material, they just need a platform to make it big.”

Bushmills Master Distiller, Colum Egan, commented: “Bushmills Live provides us with a great music platform for established and emerging indie artists. Last year it was where Gary Lightbody watched David C Clements perform and where the idea for the Bushmills Live Legacy Fund was born. We decided that we wanted to provide further support to emerging artists, beyond lending them a stage at the festival. I’m really excited about seeing the recipients of the Fund perform among the casks and pot stills at the Old Bushmills Distillery in June and then following their progress on their path to global stardom.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Smirnoff - Yours For The Making

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Smirnoff event in the Odeon Bar in Dublin. The event was hosted by Smirnoff's Global Brand Ambassador and Mixologist, Kenji Jesse. Kenji was in Dublin to present a Smirnoff Mad Molecular Mixology Evening to a very appreciative group of bloggers and journalists.

Essentially the evening was all about us (in teams of 5 or 6) making cocktails following Kenji's instruction. The twist was that all the drinks were designed to be particularly innovative or unexpected. We were taking traditional drinks and doing something a little different.

To give you an idea, we used ingredients like gold flakes, Vermouth mist, Ghost Pepper chilli sauce and Skittles.

It was an absolutely brilliant evening and I can't thank Smirnoff enough!