Kanchi Ireland - Making Ireland the most inclusive business community in the world

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Kanchi Ireland - Making Ireland the most inclusive business community in the world: Leading a business movement to ensure everybody, regardless of disability, can fulfil their basic human need to belong

Dublin, IrelandDublin
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The business community has the greatest capacity to transform the deeply engrained habit of exclusion that exists towards people with disabilities.
Kanchi ensure businesses are incentivised, informed, skilled, and supported to be that formidable catalyst for change, in a way that makes business sense.
Using campaigns,tools,data,role-models,training & consultancy Kanchi and her business leaders are propelling the drive for business inclusion.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are 1.3 billion people globally with a disability. In Ireland, people with disabilities represent almost 1in 5(18%) of our population. Yet people with disabilties are twice as likely to live below the poverty line and twice as likely to be unemployed as their peers at the same level of education. People with disabilities represent the largest marginalised group in the world,the associated stigma leading to daily experiences of discrimination. The negative disability stereoptypes of charity and pity only serve to reinforce the exclusion of this group. We have an unrelenting passion and belief that no one should be left out - that everybody,regardless of disability,is entitled to fulfiment of the fundamental human need to belong.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Global Inclusion through Business Inclusion.Business is key to creating inclusive societies. 5 key ways to drive change based on our research: 1.Campaigning/Storytelling:Highlight the exclusion which is costing businesses money and preventing people with disabilities from living the lives they want to live 2. Identify role models:Business leads business to change.Kanchi Leaders are role-models for change 3. Data and Research:Gathering statistics and data that prove the economic case for disability and business 4. Tools,methodologies,training & consultancy: Provide skills & tools to drive real change,including Ability Awards and Kanchi Member programmes 5.Create supportive multi stakeholdeholder environment where business can change
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In 2013 we held a unique event in collaboration with Kanchi Leader,Diageo that highlighted the benefits of accessible tourism.Two members of the Clayton Hotel Galway leadership team attended. Inspired into action,they subsequently sent c.20 of their staff to our Kanchi500 disability awareness training, upgraded nine of their hotel rooms to make them more accessible, added automated doors and have begun working with a supported employment service to take on a staff member with a disability. Demonstrating the power of creating real buy-in to change and then providing the supports and tools needed to transform buy-in to action, in less than 6 months the Clayton has become more inclusive of both customers and employees with disabilities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We will grow Kanchi's impact through recruiting additional Kanchi Leader organisations and member organisations. Our ability to prove the business benefits of inclusion will be key to this. We will ensure this is recognised as an agenda item of national importance,so that policy supports the inclusion and value of people with disabilities.This will be achieved through engaging with government through our national campaigns and Ability Awards initiatives. Kanchi will also be scaling up our public engagement,creating more national campaigns and utilising compelling story-telling to gain interest and buy-in.We believe disability is 'the new green' and just as in the green movement, public demand will encourage businesses to embrace inclusive practices. Once established in Ireland,our next step will be to expand to countries which we have already exported the Ability Awards Programme to.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Some organisations address specific aspects of this issue e.g. supported employment agencies & WAM provide fantastic support to individuals & graduates with disabilities in securing employment. In addition organisations provide training and consultancy support to businesses wishing to become more inclusive e.g. Business Disability Forum, UK Kanchi is the only organisation partnering with business to drive social change - our goal is not just to provide services to business, but to partner with business to drive societal change for people with disabilities. Our campaigning and work with Kanchi Leaders is aimed at driving societal transformation. While we provide the practical tools for change, we are also identifying role model businesses. We recognise that business leaders are led by business leaders, we are creating leadership from within the sector to drive real change.


Leader Orgs >CEO buy-in is key to creating real change-we meet with each CEO prior to them becoming Kanchi leaders.An annual CEO Forum brings CEOs together to examine how they can lead real change >Each CEO nominates a member of their leadership team as 'champion'.Champions provide guidance and advice at quarterly meetings. They also work with us to implement practical projects in their organisation as part of their Leader agreement. In this way we engage with staff at all levels in the business. Kanchi Team Key to success is our team's mix of disability expertise & strong business background,this enables us to speak to business in their terms and ensures campaigns and projects recognise the unique needs of both business and those with disabilities.Kanchi founder Caroline Casey brings dynamic leadership and a passion for inclusion that drives strong buy-in from our partners
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Abbott Ireland
Visit website
Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

Social Enterprise

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Kanchi Ireland Manager



Organization Name

Abbott Ireland

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Country Human Resources Director



Facebook URL
Organization Website
Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, DB, Dublin

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact


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Other: If you feel that your entry does not fit any of the above categories, please suggest another category name..

What awards or honors has the project received?

Ashoka Globalizer 2010;Arthur Guinness Fund;Zero Project 'Innovative Practice';Accenture Big Idea Award;Young Global Leaders WEF

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

Listed below are Kanchi's Leader organisations, our primary co-creation partners in Ireland. In addition to these businesses we work with a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors to drive inclusion of people with disabilities.

In addition to the specific contributions listed below, all our Leaders nominate a 'Champion' who attends regular meetings in Kanchi, providing advice and guidance on our activities and acting as our primary contact for their organisation. Each leader is required to undertake specific activities, supported by Kanchi under their Leadership role, in order to ensure they are progressing on their 'Ability Journey' while working with us.

- Business
- Global healthcare company devoted to improving life through development of products and technologies that span the breadth of healthcare. In Ireland, Abbott employs c. 3,000 people.
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- First business to achieve the Kanchi benchmark, its Clonmel site is known as one of the most inclusive organisations in Ireland. Hosted event in collaboration with Kanchi on Clonmel campus to share its learnings.

- Business
- Aura Sport & Leisure Management Ltd. is part of the Aura Holohan Group. Currently operates nine leisure centres throughout Ireland.
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- Aura have facilitated the creation of Kanchi Dine in the Dark an innovative public campaign that has transformed how people think about disability.

- Business
- Deloitte provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to selected clients. Deloitte employees c. 1,250 people in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- Hosted major event in collaboration with Kanchi in the National Concert Hall on employee wellbeing. Launched employee wellness week, Kanchi trained c.150 staff in disability awareness in 2013.

- Business
- Diageo Ireland produces premium alcohol beverages. It employs 1,500 people in its production facilities. In addition, up to 18,900 jobs are supported indirectly by Diageo Ireland through the purchase of inputs, goods and services
- Co-hosted ‘Access-Ireland’ accessible tourism event in The Guinness Storehouse. In addition the Storehouse undertook a disability audit and made significant changes based on this to improve accessibility, benefiting 1 million + annual visitors.

McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland
- Business
- Since 1977, McDonald’s has been proud to serve the Irish people with some of their favourite food. McDonald’s employs 4000 people across 84 restaurants
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- Collaborated with Kanchi on major ‘Inclusive Customer Service’ event. Invested significantly in built environment accessibility across restaurants. Created a suite of disability training videos with Kanchi for staff.

Marks and Spencer
- Business
- Marks & Spencer sell stylish, high quality, great value clothing and home products. They have 17 stores in Ireland employing over 2500 people
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- Marks&Spencer have supported the Kanchi Dine in the Dark event for the past two years, enabling delivery of this unique public campaign to transform public perceptions of disability.

Newstalk 106 - 108
- Business / Media
- Newstalk is Ireland's national news and sports news radio station with 600,000 listeners every week
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- A media partner, Newstalk co-hosted a broadcast debate on disability as a leadership issue, featuring business/ government leaders. Kanchi and the debate on inclusion feature regularly, including on Pat Kenny and Global Village shows

PepsiCo Worldwide Flavours (PWF)
- Business
- Part of PepsiCo, the world's second largest Food and Beverage Company, PWF is headquartered in Cork, Ireland and employs over 500 people.
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- One of our newest Leaders, PepsiCo have undertaken a full disability audit of their Cork plant and are now working with Kanchi to establish an internal ‘Ability Team’ which will focus on improving inclusion

Telefonica O2
- Business
- A leading communications company with over 1.5 million customers and 900 employees in Ireland. Parent company Telefonica has 330 million customers in 24 countries.
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- O2 were the original sponsors of the Ability Awards, Kanchi’s business awards programme. Telefonica have now brought these awards to Spain and are partnering with Kanchi for further global expansion

The Irish Times
- Business/ Media
- The Irish Times is considered to be Ireland's newspaper of record, with a readership of 321,000
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- The Irish Times is Kanchi’s print media partner, they provide Kanchi with advertising space to showcase campaigns and highlight our work where appropriate within the paper.

UCD Michael Smurfit Business School
- Education
- Ireland’s leading business school and research centre offering MBA, PhD and specialist Masters for business and non-business graduates as well as Executive Development courses.
- Committed to leading Ireland to become the most inclusive business community in the world
- UCD Smurfit is a Kanchi research partner. Undertook a study of the benefits which businesses working with Kanchi in Spain & Ireland experienced. A post-doctoral researcher has been placed with Kanchi for 6 months

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Kanchi and its partners have kick started real action on inclusion of people with disabilities in Ireland, starting with the Ability Awards Programme & now with our Kanchi Ireland initiatives.

>18% of the Irish population has a disability and can benefit from this initiative.
>Each Leader has created specific impacts which are referenced in the project summary.
>Almost 2000 individuals have received disability awareness training over 2 years.
>More than 60 member organisations-all availing of training & events to improve inclusion
>National campaigns achieved media reach +1 million people each
>86% of businesses reported that team work was positively impacted and 92% reported that overall employee engagement had improved through engaging with Kanchi

Going forward we want 100 Kanchi Leaders by 2020 & measurable change in employment opportunities and access to goods & services

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Foundations, Businesses, National government.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

The Kanchi Leader programme has reached finanical sustainability in its current state, however our broader mission wil require further investment. As the organisation grows, sustainability will be reached through growing our group of Kanchi Leaders and developing our training and consultancy offering (services which are paid-for by businesses), so that they contribute a combined 75% of our cost base. Kanchi will then seek matched funding/ philanthropy to meet the additional 25% of funding needed.
While we are primarily reliant on businesses for funding, the wide range of businesses we collaborate and work with helps to reduce the risk traditionally associated with working with one funding source.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

For most of our partners the 'Aha!' moment was watching other businesses in the Ability Awards programme and realising that they were missing out on a significant business opportunity, whether that was to become an employer of choice or attract a new and lucrative customer base.

For Kanchi, following the Ability Awards we knew we needed to continue our movement for change and that business really could transform society. We asked businesses and they told us they wanted help with practical interventions and a safe place to learn from others. We knew from the Awards that role models were key and CEO involvement was vital, hence we launched the Kanchi Network, including a CEO forum and Leader organisations to provide the role models and ensure real action from business.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

Our main barrier is that disability has always been positioned in the charitable/ CSR part of the business. We are committed to framing our work as a strategic objective and business opportunity. Only by taking this approach can we create true inclusion where people with disabilities are valued as employees, customers and members of the community. To overcome this barrier we selected Kanchi Leaders carefully. We invested time in building strong personal relationships and reinforced our message by providing case studies that companies can emulate. We have worked to create a new language that is relevant to both the disability and the business world.

A barrier in the pilot phase was our narrowed focus owing to using a 'Network' model, agreeing with our Leaders to rebrand from the Kanchi Network to Kanchi Ireland, freed us up to work towards a more significant national tranformation.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

We agree a bi-annual contract with each Kanchi Leader, under which Kanchi deliver key benefits, including a training and consultancy package. Businesses commit to working with us to lead change and to undertaking projects in collaboration with us to achieve this goal.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

In addition to the examples below, specifics can be found in the project summary section.
As well as positioning them as role model organisations, we enage with Kanchi Leaders' leadership & staff to drive them in becoming more disability inclusive e.g. training 150 Deloitte staff in 2013 with 150 more planned in 2014; developing training videos with McDonald's for their 4000 retail staff; establishing, training & mentoring an 'Ability Team' for PepsiCo; conducting an audit of the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland's no 1 visitor attraction, which is as a result more accessible for it's 1 million+ visitors annualy.
Our events such as Ability Cafes also ensure businesses learn how to create real change.
For Kanchi, the guidance of the Champions and CEOs has been vital in shaping our strategy and ensuring we can reach the wider business community through our campaigns and services.

How did you find out about this competition?

Ashoka Ireland