Local woman helping special needs families 


Ballaghaderreen social entrepreneur, Vika Gailite, and her co-founder Alina Barone, founders of Shamrock Squad and graduates of the SEI Ideas Academy, have created a platform for families of children with special needs.

One in 65 school-going children have an Autism diagnosis (according to autism.ie). People with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a broad range of sensory perceptions. When out and about, family members need to anticipate what may trigger sensory overloads and prepare accordingly.

Yet, there is very little to no information on reviews, leaflets or websites of destination points about these issues. Shamrock Squad’s new platform features up to date information regarding accessibility, sensory triggers, layout, signage and other relevant data about outdoor excursions in Ireland, submitted first-hand by their focus group.

The SEI Ideas Academy is a three-month programme providing social entrepreneurs like Vika and Alina with the support and direction they need to help them kick-start their idea and take the initial steps to tackle the problem at hand.

The graduating social entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to pitch for seed funding from a total pot of €40,000 to pilot their idea. They will pitch to a panel of judges comprising of sector experts, leading entrepreneurs and SEI staff for up to €5,000.