President Mary McAleese issued a rallying cry for inspiring ideas today at the launch of a new enterprise competition.
Judges in the Your Country, Your Call contest are hunting for transformational proposals to create jobs and help boost the economy.
The two eventual winners will have access to a prize fund of up to €1.2m and the guidance of industry experts to make their dream a reality.
The President said the initiative – the brainchild of her husband Martin – was open to any entries that would help get the country firmly back on its feet.
“We need fresh thinking and action to shake off these doldrums and get us into forward gear,” she said.
“They might involve new ways of doing ordinary everyday things, or new models for doing business or delivering services, or they might identify a completely new industry, business, service or community enterprise.
“The possibilities are open-ended but the winning proposals should be game-changers with the potential to bring fundamental benefits to the generality of Irish society.”
Both winners will receive a cash prize of €100,000, the support of a project team and a development fund of up to €500,000 each.
They will also receive advise from top corporate groups who will provide their expertise for free.
Since the contest was devised, 100 individuals and 30 major organisations have come on board to offer assistance, including two leading banks and top technology firm Hewlett-Packard.
Launching the competition at the National Gallery in Dublin, President McAleese said a collective effort was needed to help change things for the better.
“Until we pool our talents, combine our thinking power, we never fully realise the extent of our strength and our power to move mountains,” she added.
“Your Country, Your Call is essentially an act of faith in our brain-power and our ability to create an exciting and realisable landscape of opportunity for our country and our people.”
The online competition is open to anyone in Ireland or outside the country over the age of 18.
Full details on the application process are available at www.yourcountryyourcall.com.