As the Bank of You, KBC’s Sustainability programme aims to make a positive impact on the lives of our employees, our customers, our communities and society at large. At KBC we recognise and respect the importance of our role in society and through our sustainability programme we share our vision for better, brighter communities, support innovation, and strive for long-term sustainable impact. We drive this vision through our four diverse focus domains: entrepreneurship, financial literacy, environmental responsibility, and health & wellbeing.
Entrepreneurship is about being ‘different’ and ‘innovative’ so it has a clear alignment with KBC the Bank of You. Our KBC Bright Ideas funding initiative harnesses innovation and drives entrepreneurship.
KBC’s Bright Ideas now in its fourth year, has rewarded over €250,000 so far to the most innovative and entrepreneurial ideas in communities around Ireland. This year we doubled its support fund from €100,000 to €200,000 and launched a new scheme for Ireland’s leading social innovators and entrepreneurs – KBC Bright Business Ideas. This new project will assist for-profit organisations that aim to have a positive impact their community by addressing a particular social need. Following a judging process which is already underway, a top award of €50,000 will be granted to the winning applicant who can show how they can help improve the life of their community with the help of KBC. An additional €50,000 will be shared among the best entrants.
Branching out the fund to support new and developing businesses will allow Bright Business Ideas to support better community living in an entirely new way. Giving local entrepreneurs that vital boost at a crucial stage of their business’ development will help get these socially conscious organisations off the ground and create strong, self-sustaining businesses throughout the country.
Over the last few years, over 120 charities and community organisations near our hubs have benefitted from more than a quarter of a million euro. These have included creating community based amenities for the elderly and people with special needs, sporting and educational activities for young people, community wellbeing resources, arts and culture initiatives, as well as urban renewal projects. Last year’s national winner, Waterford Marine Search and Rescue Service, secured a total of €10,000 from KBC’s Bright Ideas. The charity was formed by brothers Declan and Darryl Barry in 2010 and since then has saved the lives of more than 100 people who have entered or tried to enter the River Suir with the intention of taking their own lives.
Darryl said the funding went towards the purchase of a new premises on the bank of the River Suir in Waterford city which the team will use to house life-saving equipment, training, and as a base for families and volunteers during search and rescue operations.
“We wouldn’t have been able to buy the building without the funding from KBC Bright Ideas. It has made a massive difference to us and to all the organisations down here who were awarded money. We would definitely recommend people to apply to the fund. The process was easy and any queries we had were answered by the staff in KBC’s Waterford Hub.”
KBC Bank Ireland will continue to grow and develop our Sustainability programme to ensure we make a positive impact on our colleagues and communities for a better, more sustainable future.