Several factors shaped our 2014 move to restructure the IDK (Irish Deaf Kids) venture from a dual-registered entity with CRO and CHY status, into Sound Advice as a sole tradership.
Professionalising The Venture
Between 2007 and 2014 (Ireland’s recession years), the professionalism underpinning the IDK venture went unseen, despite the founder’s past exposure to digital transformation within the publishing and corporate financial services industries. Accordingly, the social venture needed to refocus to a world with telecare, IoT devices and smart homes, in the hearing context.
Contacts also expected free consulting services from the IDK entity, despite arduous work to finance (fundraise) for the goals in its governing document. Today, Sound Advice evaluates requests for collaboration only where a mutually beneficial outcome results for everyone.
Redirecting As A Sole Trader
Three major policy shifts resulted during our influencing between 2007 when IDK received its seed funding from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and the 2014 rebrand to Sound Advice:
- Universal newborn hearing tests (2011)
- Education policy paper for students who are deaf/hard of hearing (2011) and
- Bilateral pediatric cochlear implants on the Health Service Executive (mid-2014).
To remain relevant, the IDK directors favored a rebrand as Sound Advice, in a move that made the website mobile device-friendly for the news archive to be accessed from anywhere.
This altered social landscape meant the rebranded social enterprise had to chart a new path.
To Stay, Or To Emigrate?
Several courses of action were suggested to Sound Advice’s founder at this juncture:
- Relocate to the UK, the US or Australia, to tap opportunities with compatible ventures.
- Merge/partner into an innovative commercial or research entity to leverage synergies.
- Continue the Sound Advice venture and develop consulting business in unrelated areas.
- Seek employment in an area of interest, and run Sound Advice as a passion project.
- Close down the venture, entirely (caveat: this website represents a research archive).
New Accounting Regulations
In 2014, the tightening regulatory environment for charitable entities was a concern, too. For the tiny IDK venture, accounting and fundraising with CRO and CHY status sucked time that was lost to progressing the social mission. What additional burden and audit fees would the SORP framework add to small founder-run shoestring charitable entities, even when voluntary accounting expertise was available? Sole tradership was attractive, for this reason.
What’s The Story Now?
Sound Advice is trading from Dublin, Ireland and continues to be internationally recognised as an innovative entity. The venture returned to its website roots, envisioned in 2007, when seed funding was sought from the SEI. Two interviews with Irish Tech News and We Share A Dream, best quantify our social impact in that timeframe. Like the philosopher Socrates said, Team IDK focused all its energy “not on fighting the old, but on building the new” to ensure the next generation of children (and seniors) can access public hearing services.
July 2017 is the tenth anniversary of Sound Advice’s establishment in Dublin, Ireland.
Three countries send the most visitors to our website (Australia & India feature, too):
- Ireland (48 per cent)
- The US (22 per cent)
- The UK (6 per cent)
The former Irish Deaf Kids entity is now voluntarily dissolved – with the Sound Advice website operating since 2014 under sole trader status, as previously advised.
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