Speakers

Festival host Naomi McMullan

“Naomi is a business journalist and broadcaster who wants to make economic news more accessible.
She has worked in the business unit of CNN International in London and for UTV in Belfast. Previously she was part of a team that set up Northern Ireland’s first podcast on entrepreneurship, to help share business knowledge.”

Festival host Naomi McMullan

“Naomi is a business journalist and broadcaster who wants to make economic news more accessible.
She has worked in the business unit of CNN International in London and for UTV in Belfast. Previously she was part of a team that set up Northern Ireland’s first podcast on entrepreneurship, to help share business knowledge.”

Headline Keynote: Sir Tim Smit KBE, Eden Project

“Sir Tim Smit is best known for his achievements in Cornwall.  He ‘discovered’ and then restored ‘The Lost Gardens of Heligan’ with John Nelson, which is now one of the UK’s best loved gardens.  Tim is Executive Vice-Chairman and Co-founder of the multi award-winning Eden Project in Cornwall. Since its opening in 2001, 19 million people have come to see a once sterile pit, turned into a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture symbolic of human endeavour.  Tim is also Executive Chairman for Eden Project International which aims to have an Eden Project on every habited continent by 2025.”

Keynote Deirdre Mortell: Social Innovation Fund for Ireland.

“Deirdre Mortell is CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland. She is also CONNECT’s Social Entrepreneur in Residence. She has twenty years’ experience of changing the world one step at a time. Sometimes by leading and sometimes by contributing in a team setting to delivering high growth or a step change in impact in Ireland’s leading non-profit organisations. Deirdre has been CEO of ONE Foundation, which made grants of €80 million over 2004-2013 to social change organisations in Ireland and Vietnam, pioneering a venture philanthropy approach. She held senior roles in fundraising & communications in Oxfam Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Barnardos, and has held multiple Board directorships.  Uniting all this is Deirdre’s passion for social change, both globally and locally in Ireland, and the power both of philanthropy, technology, and the ordinary citizen to change things – often faster than we think.”

 

Keynote Alan Mahon Brewgooder

“Alan is the Founder of Brewgooder, the craft beer brand on a mission to bring 1,000,000 people clean drinking water. Brewgooder became the first social enterprise brand to gain a national listing with Asda in October 2016 just 3 months after launching their flagship style Clean Water Lager with a successful £60,000 crowdfund.

As a social entrepreneur he has been involved in the growth of Social Bite in Scotland, the high street sandwich chain which employs, trains and houses homeless and vulnerable people, along side his partner and has welcomed Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio to his event, the Scottish Business Awards, raising over £3m.

He is a passionate believer in the power of ‘altruistic consumerism’ where everyday people can change the world for the better through everyday spending habits and is on a personal mission to bring social enterprise brands into the mainstream.”

Keynote Mary McKenna: Technology Entrepreneur & Angel Investor 

“Mary McKenna is a well known Donegal based Irish technology entrepreneur and angel investor.  She co-founded successful Northern Irish e-learning company Learning Pool following a long public sector career and a spell as a Silicon Valley dotcommer and exited from the business in 2014 so that she could return to working with earlier stage startups.  Mary is interested in helping start and grow indigenous Irish and UK tech companies and especially in working with female entrepreneurs.  She has invested in 6 early stage tech startups to date, 3 with female founding teams.

She is one of the Entrepreneurship Experts with the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), Entrepreneur in Residence at Catalyst Inc (the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast), an advisor to government, a trustee of the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology and an active member of Tech London Advocates.

Mary was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to digital technology, innovation and learning.”

Keynote Alan Mahon Brewgooder

“Alan is the Founder of Brewgooder, the craft beer brand on a mission to bring 1,000,000 people clean drinking water. Brewgooder became the first social enterprise brand to gain a national listing with Asda in October 2016 just 3 months after launching their flagship style Clean Water Lager with a successful £60,000 crowdfund.

As a social entrepreneur he has been involved in the growth of Social Bite in Scotland, the high street sandwich chain which employs, trains and houses homeless and vulnerable people, along side his partner and has welcomed Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio to his event, the Scottish Business Awards, raising over £3m.

He is a passionate believer in the power of ‘altruistic consumerism’ where everyday people can change the world for the better through everyday spending habits and is on a personal mission to bring social enterprise brands into the mainstream.”

Speaker Carla McSorley, Customer Success Manager at FoodCloud

Carla is the Customer Success Manager at FoodCloud, a Social Enterprise that connects retailers with too much food to local charities through innovative technology. Working at FoodCloud since 2015, Carla has experienced firsthand the positive impact Social Enterprises and Social Innovation can have on local communities and businesses. Carla holds a Masters in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility from Queens University Belfast and a BSc in Environmental Health from University of Ulster.

FoodCloud works in partnership with FareShare NI to redistribute surplus food from retailers to local charities and community groups. FoodCloud has redistributed over 20 million meals to date in the UK and Ireland.

Speaker Sandra Baillie, NICVA

“I have worked for NICVA for 14 years in various roles and now as Head of Organisational Development. Before that I worked for an international charity and private training organisations. I really enjoy meeting with people in the voluntary and community sector finding out what their development needs are personally and organisationally and coming up with training or support solutions to meet their needs. I deliver training and development programmes in many different areas and love facilitating people’s learning and helping them apply it to improve their work and their organisation. Social Innovation is so important because it is about new and better ways of improving our communities and society. It is about working together across all sectors and most importantly with people who use our services and products to come up with the most effective way of dealing with challenges and making the most of opportunities. I’m inspired by the people I meet who engage with others their community find out what the needs are and then develop and grow ideas that become reality and make a real difference to people’s lives, like Vineyard Compassion in Coleraine and SPACE in Newry.”

Speaker Conor Houston, Centre for Democracy & Peace Building

Conor Houston is a Consultant with the Centre for Democracy & Peace Building based in Belfast. He has developed transformative large-scale programmes which seek to empower communities and create a more peaceful, compassionate and resilient Northern Ireland.
He is also a Governor of The Irish Times Trust.  Conor is a solicitor advocate having represented clients to the Supreme Court of both the UK and Ireland and was involved in many high profile and pioneering cases. Conor also represented the legal profession on the Executive Board of the European Young Bar Association and on the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland. He is a Fellow of the US State Department Rule of Law Programme, Fellow of the British Council Hammamet Conference and represented the UK at the Ship for World Young Leaders Conference in Japan. He is currently the inaugural Chairman of the Ireland Funds Young Leaders Belfast chapter.

Speaker Tiziana O’Hara, Cooperative Alternatives

Tiziana O’Hara has been living in Northern Ireland for the past 20 years and most of her working life has been spent in the local community, voluntary and social economy sector. Tiziana is one of the founder members of Co-operative Alternatives, the local co-operative development body offering support and expert knowledge to existing and emerging co-operatives.  Co-operative Alternatives aims to develop and support a strong co-op movement connected across the island of Ireland and doing business in a fair, just and ethical way. She believes in democratic enterprises which are socially and environmentally minded. She has helped setting up and grow workers co-operatives, energy co-operative owned schemes, housing co-ops, multi-stakeholders co-operative enterprises and community co-ops. Tiziana has been involved in the development of a number of co-operatives and community benefit societies in Northern Ireland and delivered an innovative programme promoting “community shares” – a specific tool used by co-ops to raise capital to, for instance, acquire buildings or build wind turbines. Tiziana has a strong passion for community and co-operative ownership and believes that co-operatives are an exciting vehicle to bring cohesion, engagement and commitment in a community.

Speaker Rebecca Walsh, Service Designer, Northern Ireland Public Sector Innovation Lab

“Rebecca has a background in Aeronautical Engineering with over 5 years experience in aerodynamic design and 7 years experience in innovation. Within the Innovation Lab Rebecca has worked on several projects including improvement of medicines adherence, system requirements for an online feedback system for Health and Social Care and improvement of recycling targets through service and product design. Rebecca loves going to the gym, running, travelling, making her own clothes and working as a STEM ambassador. She thinks the world would be a better place if services were always designed for the user. Rebecca’s favourite quote is – “At its core, creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you.” Tom Kelley, IDEO.”

Speaker Chiara Davalli, European BIC Network

“Chiara is project manager at EBN. She manages several EU funded projects supporting innovative entrepreneurship in different fields, defining better tools, methodologies and policies to support innovation in Europe and beyond. Chiara works closely with European and non-European incubators, accelerators and clusters to define better innovation support mechanisms at regional, national, European and international level. She is a mentor for early stage startups in the field of smart mobility. Chiara works on bilat projects with India and Brazil, and is passionate about social and responsible innovation. She managed the Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubators and she is in charge of the Social Innovation Special Interest Group in EBN. She currently manages the Social Challenges Innovation Platform on behalf of EBN.”

Speaker Leanne Monk Ozgul, Cofounder- Elemental Software

“Leanne is one of the cofounders of Elemental Software, a social prescribing startup.

Leeann has a long established track record in the community and voluntary sector engaging, activating and supporting our most disadvantaged communities towards better health outcomes.  Reducing health inequalities is her passion.  Leeann helped establish and manage a Health Living Centre for 15 years in a in Derry City, N.Ireland. “

Speaker Tony Doherty, Healthy Living Centre Alliance

“Tony Doherty is the Regional Coordinator of the Healthy Living Centres’ Alliance. His previous role (2002-14) was General Manager of the award-winning Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum. Tony is Chairperson and community sector representative of the Western ICP (Northern Sector) covering Derry-Londonderry, Limavady and Strabane.

Tony was instrumental in establishing the Health Forum in 1999 while working as Project Co-ordinator the £2m capital project to redevelop the disused Gasyard site in the Brandywell area for community use. Along with a number of other local community workers, he steered the course upon which the Health Forum developed from a cross-sectoral working group to implementing a major community-led health partnership. Tony views the combined community and statutory sector approach as the essential synthesis for making a difference to peoples’ lives.

Tony has been central to the development of a vibrant community network in the Bogside & Brandywell area since the early 1990’s. He also served for three years (2009-12) as co-chair of the Western Investing for Health Partnership and was an active member of the Later Years Sub Group.”

Speaker Una McKernan, Deputy Chief Executive, NICVA

“I have been working in NICVA for almost 23 years following a few years working in the private sector.  My background was in Human Resources originally and I always had a very strong commitment to equality and justice, treating people fairly and respectfully so coming to NICVA from environments less committed to this was a breath of fresh air and I have remined there since.  Over the years I have moved away from pure Human Resources work to wider organisational development activity.  My current role as Deputy Chief Executive involves addressing the needs of workers and volunteers in voluntary and community sector organisations by identifying and applying for programmes which support us to do this work.  We are always keen to champion and deliver new programmes and initiatives and being involved in Social Innovation NI is the latest move to that.  Having worked closely with public and private sector organisations through my work, I see a real benefit to collaborating across sectors for the benefit of the communities we are working.  Bringing together a rich diversity of people can lend itself to new ideas, ways of working and new opportunities.  We can all learn from each other.”

Speaker Jennifer Neff , Co Founder- Elemental Software

“Jennifer is co-founder of social prescribing startup Elemental Software.

Jennifer has more than 16 years’ experience in managing public/ private and voluntary, community and social enterprise sector partnerships. She led the delivery of community programmes across employability, digital skills and Active City, Age Friendly and Early Intervention.”

Speaker Patricia Flanagan, Work West

Patricia has over 25 years experience working in the enterprise and education sectors in Northern Ireland. Since a visit to Stanford University in 2010 Patricia has worked exclusively in Design Thinking and Creative Problem Solving. As Project Manager for the Belfast Metropolitan College e3 campus she pioneered the inclusion of design thinking for social good into the curriculum in the college.

In March 2014 she set up her own business called Rejig. Her primary focus is on developing design-thinking/creative problem solving approaches to stimulate innovation. Patricia is a specialist facilitator and frequently delivers to students, teaching staff, social and community organisations and to businesses. She works with a number of key clients including Work West Enterprise Centre, Queens University Belfast, Catalyst Inc and Connected. She recently designed and opened a space for prototyping at WorkWest called the “thinc lab”. She has also run a number of large scale Innovation Camps giving young people the opportunity to learn creative thinking tools to solve local social challenges.

She also spent 7 years leading the development of the designer craft industry in NI and 7 years running her own craft retail business and is on the Board of the Craft Northern Ireland.

Speaker Roger Warnock, Young Foundation 

“Roger is well known within the Irish social innovation scene and was awarded the Nesta/Observer New Radical Award in July 2016 for his research and design work for the Book Reserve supporting young ex-offenders in Belfast. He also has over 20 years’ hands-on business experience and a successful record in social innovation research and design work across all sectors and is both a Winston Churchill Fellow (2013) and Clore Social Fellow (2016).

Roger currently manages his professional time between Social Nybble and the Young Foundation one of the world’s leading social innovation think-tanks where he is the Programme Lead for Ireland. Prior to this he served in a variety of senior roles in business, government and social enterprise sectors.

Roger’s key specialisms are corporate social innovation and research in entrepreneurship and innovation which he is recognised for internationally.”

Speaker Ciaran Murray

“Ciaran Murray has been known in business circles for a number of years as a website designer, developer and techie.  However his identity as the previously anonymous writer of ‘Pure Derry’ – a popular satirical comedy platform with almost 30k Facebook fans, has only recently come to the wider public attention after 15 years of relative anonymity.  Ciaran is also the co-founder of The Ulster Fry, a similar Northern Ireland focused comedy and satire website, on which he inhabits the role of ‘Seamus O’Shea’ – one half of the cross-community writing duo of ‘Billy & Seamus’.  Ciaran recently launched a sister-platform to Pure Derry, called ‘Your Derry’ – a social movement through which he aims to spark public conversation, generate ideas and implement innovative new ways to regenerate his hometown by bringing ideas, innovators and influencers together.  Their first initiative ‘Walled City Open Coffee’, which brings late night coffee culture to Derry for the first time and asks competing coffee shops to work together to promote coffee culture, has just been made permanent after a two month successful trial period.”

Speaker Joanne Morgan, Director of Community Development- Community Development & Health Network (CDHN)

“Joanne Morgan is the Director of Community Development and Health Network (CDHN), a membership organisation working across Northern Ireland to end health inequalities through community development.  A qualified Town Planner, Joanne has worked within the community, voluntary and statutory sectors for the past 20 years with experience gained as a Peace Manger and Manager of Early Years services including a range of Sure Start projects. Joanne has been director of CDHN for 7 years. She is a Board Member of the Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen’s with a particular interest in knowledge translation, co-production and health literacy and their impact on communities. Joanne is a passionate believer in the power of community development in bringing about transformation in local communities.”

Speaker Peter Stewart, MVO Director of Development and Outreach

Peter is one of Eden’s Executive Director’s with responsibility for Eden’s charitable mission.  This role includes responsibility for Eden’s biggest educational outreach campaign, The Big Lunch.  Alongside David Harland, from September 2013 to June 2014, Peter was responsible for all of Eden’s operations.

As well as running small businesses Peter previously spent over 10 years in the advertising industry working for British Leyland, J. Walter Thompson and BMP DDB, working with a variety of businesses including the Guardian, Knorr, National Dairy Council (milk), Courage (Fosters, Courage Best and John Smiths). In between JWT and BMP, Peter was also Account Director at Leo Burnett working on Proctor & Gamble, Philip Morris, Sanyo and Nestle (Crosse & Blackwell).

Peter was appointed to the main Eden Board in March 2012. In the same year he was also awarded an MVO by HM The Queen for his work on the Diamond Jubilee, as The Big Lunch played a major part in the celebrations

Billy Dann, Grants Digital Innovation Manager, Comic Relief 

“Overseeing and managing Comic Relief’s work in funding ‘Tech for Good’.

This covers projects that are funded via our general programme grants (i.e. developing online mentoring and e-learning platforms) as well as through specialist Tech for Good funding initiatives. Very proud that I championed funding for CAST (Centre for Acceleration of Social Tech) to establish its Digital Fellowships training and Fuse accelerator. s. Joanne is a passionate believer in the power of community development in bringing about transformation in local communities.”

Speaker Lennard Drogendijk, Chairman at Inqubator Leeuwarden

Lennard is the initiator of BDF, Inqubator Leeuwarden, and Fryslân House and is highly involved in international networks such as Lean LandingEBN and EEN.

John Peto, Director of Education, Nerve Centre

John is the Director of Education at the Nerve Centre, responsible for a range of projects that support Digital Creativity in Schools and Communities across Northern Ireland.  From a background in film and television production John has overseen the establishment of Northern Ireland’s first FabLab’s (at the Nerve Centre and at Belfast’s Ashton Centre) as well as operating the Nerve Centre’s Creative Learning Centres and pioneering the use of Digital Creative Media in Conflict Education through the Teaching Divided Histories Project.

In 2016 John oversaw the opening of FabFarm! A digital skills, entrepreneurship and employability programme which FabLab Nerve Centre runs in partnership with the Playtrail in Derry. FabFarm! works with people with learning difficulties to support them to design, build and operate their own digital farm as a social enterprise. In 2017 FabFarm won the Ability Net Tech for Good award for best learning and skills project.

Denise Dillon, Project Manager at Elemental Software

Denise Dillon has over 16 years experience working within the community and voluntary sector. After graduating in 2001 with a Bsc Hons Business Information Systems she started working in community development, mental health, training and project management working with some of the most marginalised communities in Northern Ireland. Her career to date has seen her work with Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre (Creggan, Derry), Cancer Research NI, Hands That Talk (Deaf Community) and AWARE.

Sophie Mullan, Social Media & Digital Marketing Coordinator, Arthritis Care

“I work as a Social Media & Digital Marketing Co-Ordinator for the Young People & Families Service of Arthritis Care in Northern Ireland. Young people with arthritis find it difficult having an “invisible condition” that to their peers is considered as an “old person’s disease”. My role is to find ways to use the digital world to bring these young people together, to allow them to feel less isolated, part of a community and more in control of their condition. We have been developing an app alongside young people with arthritis to help provide a way for us to reach young people in the digital world, help them take control of their condition and link them in to a community of other young people like them.”

Rachael Power, Boardroom Apprentice

“My background is in education, I trained and worked as a music teacher, but I have been working in the homelessness and housing sectors in one way or another for the past 5 years. I am currently Community Involvement Coordinator for a large housing association. I enjoy working alongside our tenants to help them create thriving communities.

I am passionate about music and the arts and how they can impact individuals and communities.

In my spare time I still enjoy performing and teaching music and I am thrilled to be the Board Room Apprentice for the Ulster Orchestra.”

Joanne Toner, Strictly Boardroom

Joanne Toner is a Learning Partner for Ulster Bank NI having worked previously in a number of management roles in Bank of Ireland. She is currently taking part in the Boardroom Apprentice Programme and is partnered with the Labour Relations Agency.

Nian Wetsteijn, SpareSpace

Nian Wetsteijn is an interactive student from Rotterdam. She has developed her self in the entrepreneur’s branch and knows a starter entrepreneur needs. She is an employee of SpareSpace; where she is responsible for the networking and community building within SpareSpace. Subsequently she is also responsible for the marketing and business developments.

 

Nian is not just a part-time employee, but she is a student as well. She is a fourth year student of Small Business and Retail Management, of the university of applied science. Soon she will be a proud owner of a business administration degree.

 

SpareSpace is bringing a new concept. It is about innovating and bringing together different groups of entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are able to help each other, with their knowledge and expertise in different markets. Therefore SpareSpace is creating an independent community of entrepreneurs.

As the community manager her task is to grow SpareSpace into an international network and develop the company.

Before Nian was sure about the fact that she wanted to have an international career she did an internship in Australia. During this internship she developed her marketing/sales skills and is able to speak proper English.

Nian is eager to learn and to develop herself. She has a creative and social mind-set and will not back down for a little adventure.

 

To balance her busy life style, she likes to travel and play sports.

Laurie Davies, Lacada Brewery

Fascination with fermentation started for Laurie when he first saw a bubbling airlock on a demijohn of country wine, nestling above a range in his friend’s house on Bodmin Moor, in his native Cornwall.

With a thirty-odd year journey of home brewing behind him, Laurie has embraced the recent turnaround in the drinking palate in Ireland, visiting breweries up and down the country and attending the Craft Beer Convention in Dublin. Laurie has a long experience in business, running his picture framing service for twenty five years in Portrush and he has a strong commitment to community. For five years he was a governor at the local integrated primary school, chairing Board meetings and heading up the staffing sub-committee. He has a keen listening ear and is a good facilitator.

People working together is a goal that Laurie has always been drawn to and he believes that community owned co-operative enterprises can now show their strengths and sustainable business model in the 21st century.

William Miller, Raglan Community Development Regeneration Society

William (Billy) has worked as a volunteer in the community/voluntary sector for the last fifteen years, currently the Treasurer of Slemish n’ tha Braid Credit Union Ltd. and Ballee & Harryville Workspace Units.
Billy has just turned fifty years of age, the last thirty four years of which has seen him employed in the ‘private sector’ as an electrician at the JTI or as it’s better known the Gallaher Tobacco Plant in Ballymena.
During his time in the tobacco industry Billy has had the opportunity to travel across Europe both for his parent company and in his quest to enhance his ‘social awareness’ skills as a Trade Union Representative.

Speaker Carla McSorley, Customer Success Manager at FoodCloud

Carla is the Customer Success Manager at FoodCloud, a Social Enterprise that connects retailers with too much food to local charities through innovative technology. Working at FoodCloud since 2015, Carla has experienced firsthand the positive impact Social Enterprises and Social Innovation can have on local communities and businesses. Carla holds a Masters in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility from Queens University Belfast and a BSc in Environmental Health from University of Ulster.

FoodCloud works in partnership with FareShare NI to redistribute surplus food from retailers to local charities and community groups. FoodCloud has redistributed over 20 million meals to date in the UK and Ireland.