Social entrepreneur and AgriKids founder, Alma Jordan, is continuing her drive for change in farm safety after being selected as one of the winners of the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) awards.

Julianstown, Co. Meath-based Alma is one of six social entrepreneurs addressing social problems through innovative solutions to have won a place on this year’s SEI awards programme.

The SEI awards programme identifies high potential social entrepreneurs and supports them through significant funding and mentoring, as well as providing access to a network of support.

Since its foundation in 2004, SEI has supported over 300 social entrepreneurs, who in turn have impacted the lives of more than 1.7 million people across Ireland.

“I was awarded €20,000 in cash and the rest is funding a nine-month programme I am doing,” said the AgriKids founder.

I am working on creating an interactive mobile vehicle. It is a huge investment and I have some additional support from the Leader programme which is also helping with the virtual reality platform I had at the Ploughing Championships this year.

“The AgriKids farm safe roadshow will be kitted out with screen and interactive farm safe activities. I am looking for sponsors to support the running of the vehicle. It’s the first of its kind in Ireland.

“I got the idea when visiting the UK and saw the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU’s) Discovery Barn. I loved it and resolved that I was going to make it happen in Ireland,” said Alma.

Engage, educate and empower

The 2019 awards programme attracted 120 applications from across Ireland, with 40 applicants making it through to a bootcamp in Croke Park in May. Twelve of those made it to the finalist stage in June, with the opportunity to pitch for one of six places on the programme.

AgriKids is a farm safety education programme that aims to engage, educate and empower children to be farm safety ambassadors through classroom resources; interactive workshops; storybooks; and a child-friendly game app. It creates safety materials exclusively about children, designed to be used by children.

Alma said she was absolutely delighted to be among this year’s winners. “Being part of the SEI awards programme 2019 gives credibility to the mission I’ve been on with AgriKids for the past four years.

I am so passionate and committed to making the agriculture sector safer and the impact this will have. SEI’s support is invaluable, not only to me personally and to AgriKids as an organisation, but to ensuring a safer future on our farms for everyone.

CEO of SEI, Darren Ryan, said that over the past 15 years, SEI has led the way in identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs in Ireland.

“The calibre of the 120 applicants to the awards programme this year is testament to the fact that there are social entrepreneurs in every community across the country. What is most inspiring is people aren’t just coming up with new ideas, they are working tirelessly to put them into action,” he said.

Solving problems

“The courage, ambition, energy and commitment demonstrated by the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland awardees to solving the social problems they have identified is truly inspiring and this year’s awardees are already starting to change Ireland for the better.

“I would like to congratulate Alma and I look forward to seeing the AgriKids project evolve into a highly impactful, effective, scalable and sustainable organisation.”

This year’s Social Entrepreneurs Ireland 2019 recipients also include:

  • James O’Neill of Property Marking Ireland, a community-led crime prevention initiative;
  • Tracy Keogh of Grow Remote, an organisation that works to end the rural emigration that is depleting the Irish countryside;
  • David Neville and Pádraic Hogan of jumpAGrade, an innovative online model for the provision of secondary school grinds;
  • Boris Hunka of The Ease Project, a programme aimed at recognising, normalising and treating anxiety in students; and
  • Dr. Maria Garvey of Helping Hands, an anti-bullying programme that provides schools with the tools and training to enable teachers to identify and prevent bullying before it can start.