5 startups making positive social change
As Martin Luther King once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’”
While growth is normally the target startups aim straight for, we looked at the entrepreneurs who’ve put social development on the bullseye.
The Nominet Trust have launched a global search for the top 100 ‘most socially inspiring applications of digital tech’.
Solving daily socio-political issues
The list of nominees shows an eclectic mix of initiatives dealing with some of the smallest to some of the most pressing global issues.
A ‘deforestation-monitoring app’ of the Amazon, a ‘productivity app’ of those sitting in the Italian Parliament and the page for having free English lessons on Facebook are amongst the selected.
It highlights how useful tech entrepreneurship can be in addressing, and even solving, ongoing social issues – by thinking resourcefully, being creative and and having an internet connection.
We caught up with some of London’s tech do-gooders and their socio-tech innovations. Take a look through our pick of London’s top tech for social change.
“It’s a giant garden shed, toolkit, fancy dress chest, book and DVD library and skills bank for your neighbourhood.”
Social issue: Idle resources in people’s homes and declining community spirit.
Project: Exchanging possessions and personal skills in local neighbourhoods.
Technological input: An online platform where you can create a personal account to see people who live within one mile of you and their possessions. There’s a rating system and testimonials section to create online trust.
“We match charities and social enterprises who are passionate about their cause; providing the best volunteer experience for professionals.”
Social issues: Charities lacking skilled individuals/strategic resources to drive their causes further.
Project: Connecting professionals with causes and charities to volunteer their skills and advice.
Technological Input: Individuals join a member website which does a character and skills match which allocates them to a particular charity who they can support.
“Giving local activists the equipment, training and support needed to safely capture compelling video evidence of human rights violations.”
Social issues: Lack of awareness/justice for global human rights abuses.
Project: Citizen journalism. Using activists in different countries who can film human rights violations, verify, edit and upload the videos.
Technologically Input: The charity supplies the filming equipment and provides an online archive to store the footage. The project ensures the safety of activists by keeping operations and case studies anonymous.
“1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue during the course of a year. This costs in excess of £1bn to the health services in the UK.”
Social issues: Until now mental health professionals have had to rely on service diaries to manage conditions and record information ‘between meetings’.
Project: Enabling people with mental illnesses to see and understand the relationship between the things that they do in their daily life and the impact this has on their mental health”
Technology input: Buddy App allows data to be recorded for clinicians through a range of features including a daily diary, appointment scheduling and behaviour change tools that allow users to set and receive goal reminders by SMS, allowing patients to make the connection between behavior and mood.
“Each (foot)step produces enough power to light an LED-powered street lamp for 30 seconds.”
Project: developed paving slabs to convert energy from people’s footsteps electrical power. The slabs are installed at the London 2012 Olympic Games at West Ham tube station which cost about $200 currently.
Technology Input: they use what it calls a hybrid black box technology to convert the energy of a footstep into electricity, with a hybrid solution of mechanisms that include the piezoelectric effect and induction, which uses copper coils and magnets.