Novel event to provide sustenance for business ideas

The organising committee, Thom Stewart, Eileen Lauster, and Sebastian Taylor, behind the crowdfunding initiative, Galway SOUP, which takes place next Thursday. (Missing from photo is Bernard McGlinchey).

Four ideas of benefit to the city will be pitched to the public this week in an event that decides by a vote which one deserves to be funded.

In a unique crowd funding initiative for Galway known around the world as “Soup”, people are being urged to turn out to the Cornstore on Thursday, pay a fiver and get a bowl of soup, bread and a vote.

They will be asked to hear the pitches of the four successful applicants – a social club for adults with autism, an app to help local retailers, a community event to share food among different cultures, and a project to make businesses and organisations more accessible through communication.

Questions can be fielded from the floor, prompting a discussion on each application. There will then be a vote to decide on which idea gets the proceeds from the evening.

“We’re hoping as many people as possible will go to hear these ideas and focus on solutions. We’ll be encouraging people to give advice as well as money so that people will go away encouraged to develop their idea and make it happen,” explained one of the organisers, Eileen Lauster, social enterprise development officer in the Galway City Partnership.

The mission of Galway Soup is to promote community-based development through “crowd funding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust, and fun”.

“Each individual who walks through the door is agreeing to grant the money to the project they think is most deserving through democracy and critical conversation. We then ask past winners to come back in a few months to share with the community what they did with the money,” said Eileen.

“This really is open to any project – a not-for-profit or a for-profit – as long as it benefits Galway City.”

The soup is being sponsored by Temple Café, which is based at the Cornstore on Middle Street.

The event kicks off at 6pm on Thursday (September 28) in the communal area of the Cornstore. Further details are available on Facebook.