The Trinity MBA Blog

Lending a helping hand: How this Trinity MBA used her studies to support a high-impact local business

/ by Edel McCabe



Edel McCabe CEO & Founder, Effective Marketing Communications Agency and Trinity MBA alumnus (2020) shares her experience working on the MBA Social Enterprise Project. This project provides a mutually beneficial opportunity for MBA scholars to apply their business skills and knowledge to a challenge faced by a Social Enterprise.

From honing my skills as a business leader to networking with some of Ireland’s most promising entrepreneurs, the Trinity MBA has afforded me a great many opportunities.

None, however, compare to the chance to give back to my local community. Courtesy of the social enterprise project within the MBA programme, I was lucky enough to support Spraoi agus Spórt, an award-winning social enterprise in Carndonagh, County Donegal. Hailing from Donegal, I was thrilled to work with Spraoi, which has been serving its community for over 10 years with incredibly valuable community groups and activities for the elderly, children, young people, and parents.

While the business had achieved great impact within its community, it had not taken the time to communicate that impact. And, with a fundraising initiative to build a new youth space, FabLab, as well as a co-working space, fast approaching, translating this value to its stakeholders had never been so important.

Heading up a team of six Trinity MBA candidates, named Team Tionchar (meaning impact in Irish), our goals were to measure the impact that Spraoi was having on its community, as well as developing a toolkit to enable the business to gauge this impact going forward.

As a result of the project, Spraoi has been able to effectively communicate the positive impact it has on its community in a number of ways, which, in turn, has magnified this impact and has enabled the organisation to scale significantly. From creating a new section on the business’ website to generating local and national media interest for the high-impact social enterprise, Tionchar has shone a light on the incredible work that Spraoi does for its community.

The success of this project is testament to the value of the Trinity MBA. Equipped with the skills, know-how and support of the business school, I was able to deliver real impact to an organisation that has done so much for so many.

And, reflecting briefly on the media interest we were able to generate around the work of Spraoi, the project also highlights the value of engaging one of Ireland’s top business schools via its highly capable MBA students. A globally-renowned, triple-accredited business school, nestled within a historic university, Trinity’s reputation – and, in turn, Spraoi’s partnership with TBS – was something that we quickly identified as a tool to be leveraged when engaging stakeholders, especially when looking for financing. Sure enough, having taken our advice, the social enterprise went on to enjoy two incredibly successful funding applications.

But it all comes back to impact – impact on the business which, in turn, continues to have a massive impact on the community. Spraoi agus Spórt has served its community for well over a decade. And, thanks to the support of Trinity Business School via the school’s MBA project, it will do so for decades to come, reaching new heights of success and helping new swathes of the community.

The project is just one of many examples of Trinity Business School’s commitment to Transforming Business for Good. Impact – business or social – is at the heart of the school’s ethos. This project stands testament to that reality.


Helen Nolan, Co-Founder & CEO, Spraoi agus Sport:

“The impact framework that Edel and her team developed was a key part of our funding application in partnership with Donegal County Council to the Rural Regeneration Development Fund. We were awarded €9.5 million in funding in April 2021 and the project goes to tender for an architect-led design team in the next few weeks. We also used the impact framework in our successful funding application to the RTÉ Toy Show. We were awarded €300,000 to create a new purpose-built Child and Family Hub for Carndonagh.”

Tags: MBA, Social enterprise

Edel McCabe

Written by Edel McCabe