Social entrepreneurs are people who recognise social problems and use entrepreneurial thinking to create solutions designed to engender lasting, positive change. While businesses tend to measure their performance in terms of both profit and society, social entrepreneurs focus solely on creating social good.
Diageo supports and helps fund social entrepreneurs, with the aim of catalysing and driving systematic change in communities. Our main channel for supporting social entrepreneurs is the Arthur Guinness Fund™. The Fund, launched in 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the lease for the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, was set up to further the legacy of Arthur Guinness and support social entrepreneurs around the world. Through the Fund, Diageo identifies and supports social entrepreneurs in order to make measureable, transformational changes to communities. In 2010, Diageo announced an increased investment in the Fund from €6.0 (£4.9) million to €7.4 (£6.0) million.
Highlights of the year
- Partnering with Ashoka: in August 2010 the Arthur Guinness Fund signed a three-year partnership with Ashoka, the world’s leading association of social entrepreneurs, to help them deliver a €3.0 (£2.6) million project to identify, fund and support innovative social entrepreneurs, projects and infrastructure-building around the world. We are now in the process of making the awards.
- Supporting start-ups in Ireland: this year also saw the launch of the Start-up Grants, which invite applications for €50,000 (£43,700) grants for start-up projects that offer innovative ways to drive positive change in support of sustainable development in Ireland. We also launched Take-off Grants, which support more advanced projects with grants of €100,000 (£87,883).