After reviewing over 9,000 proposals submitted from people in 176 countries, the judges of the Your Country Your Call competition have finally decided on the five proposals with the greatest potential to deliver ‘jobs and opportunity for Ireland.’

Your Country Your CallIf you are unfamiliar with this campaign, it is an open competition initiated by the President’s husband, Dr. Martin McAleese, to find two direction-changing innovations for the island of Ireland. Each winning proposal will receive €100,000 in cash, but the proposal will then be taken out of the hands of the proposer and developed with governmental support into a national programme.

We are now down to the five finalists. One central plank of the campaign was to crowd-source ideas that could deliver tangible benefits for Ireland. Interestingly, only one of the proposals shortlisted was among the top fifty most supported on the YourCountryYourCall website. The proposal to ‘Make Ireland a Global Media Hub’ came in as the twentieth most supported, with support from 318 people and a discussion that amounted to 36 comments. The most popular proposal on the other hand received 1,947 expressions of support and 576 comments. The crowd clearly isn’t always right.

These are the final five. My own vote, for what it’s worth goes to transform Ireland into a Data Island – a ‘world-beating entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem around Digital Services.’ Winners to be announced on September 17th.

D3279 Creation of a “Superbrand” to market Irish Tourism & Food
The proposal is to create a new “Superbrand” to market Irish (all Island) Tourism and Food under the one banner – together with some practical and creative thinking in terms of implementation. The focus of the proposal is to build out job opportunities in both sectors.

The Proposer, Brody Sweeney, is from Sandymount in Dublin. He has been involved in retail chains like Prontaprint and O’Briens Sandwich Bars, as well as the business charity Connect Ethiopia. He is currently working with Diep at Home and Eat City, and is Board member of Paddy Power.

D6541 An opportunity for Ireland to become a Global Media Hub
The proposal sets out initially to create an Irish Content Industry Association which would then drive the development of a cultural and creative quarter, a Media Park to attract global content industries, and creating the necessary legislative and regulatory environment to make Ireland a leading global centre for the creation and distribution of digital content.

The Proposer, Neil Leyden, is a screen writer and a digital media consultant. Neil formed the Digital Media Forum in 2004, now a network of over 600 digital media companies, with the intention of seeing different sectors of the creative and technology industries collaborate for the economic betterment of Ireland.

D8134 Establishing an intellectual property (IP) based financial securities market in Ireland
The proposal deals with positioning Ireland centrally in the evolution of the Knowledge Economy by setting up an Intellectual Property Services Centre (IPSC) anchored around an IP-based exchange with significant potential to create long term employment opportunities and revenue streams.

The Proposer, Gordan Hyland, is originally from Belfast. Gordan has lived in many countries and his career has been focused primarily in the areas of microelectronics, consumer electronics, multimedia etc. He is qualified at masters level in technology, finance, law and management.

D9686 Installation of Solar PV Electricity Generation on existing windfarms
The proposal is to install large scale solar photovoltaic panels on existing windfarm sites, utilising the existing land, electrical infrastructure and grid connections.

Peter Enda Kavanagh is the Proposer. Originally from Gorey, County Wexford, Peter lives in Lusk, County Dublin. Peter is an Electrical Engineer and specialises in the grid connection and preconstruction of large scale windfarm projects.

D10140 The Data Island Strategy
Through the development of a Green Mega Data Centre Freezone and an International Innovation Area – The Data Island Strategy sets out to build a world beating entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem around Digital Services and to position Ireland at the forefront of its associated spin-off industries.

The Proposers Cianan Clancy & Colm MacFhlannachadha are both from Skerries, County Dublin. Cianan works for a Fortune 500 Consulting Firm and concentrates on helping businesses optimise their business processes and IT systems; Colm has over 25 years experience in sectors as diverse as energy, electronics, medical devices and food manufacturing.

Good luck to all the finalists and congrats on getting so far along the process.