DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards, now open for entries, celebrate technologies that improve lives and the world around us. Four categories recognise the best in business innovation. 2017’s business winners tell us what the awards have meant to them – and update us on their progress.
Businesses can do good too. It’s not enough just look at tech for good from a narrow not-for-profit perspective. Thousands of businesses out there are creating products and services that make lives better, either on a pure-profit basis, or with a ‘double bottom line’ of profit with purpose. That’s the thinking behind the four categories in our business-themed Impact Awards.
Our 2017 Impact Award business winners bring representation from across the economy, featuring pure-profit businesses working to make work and international aid better, a social enterprise delivering change to communities, to an impact investment bank looking to put its money where its mouth is.
The Impact Awards are open to UK-operating projects until December 18, across a a dozen categories. Enter now.
Business transformation – celebrating products and projects that help business, government and non-profits to become more effective and happier, healthier places to work.
Saberr, our 2017 winner, is working to create happy, high-performing teams through software that helps people work well together, using data collection and algorithms to predict and improve performance. It has been looking to demonstrate its social impact as it diversifies into supporting charities and public bodies.
“Winning an award was great for Saberr,” says chief executive Tom Marsden. “It has been a constant reminder of social impact that we strive to achieve. This has been key in engagements with many charities that we work as well as organisations like the NHS. There’s a constant focus to help teams work better together to have an impact on social outcomes. We’ve also found it’s opened up great discussions with the investor base linked to the awards as we raised a new round.”
So how has Saberr grown in the last year? “The key development this year has been the launch of our new product CoachBot,” says Marsden. “We are delighted with the launch. We’ve also seen significant revenue growth, user growth of 600%+ and had three more people join the business. So its been an exciting year.”
Social and economic transformation – outward-facing initiatives from business, government and non-profits that look to make a positive impact on the wider world.
AID:Tech, which won our 2017 Impact Award, harnesses blockchain technology to bring social and financial inclusion to the world’s underserved population, by giving all users a digital identity
Co-founder and chief executive Joseph Thompson says “winning an Impact Award has given AID:Tech a huge amount of credibility with our clients. Our goal from day one has been to be commercially driven and to transform people’s social and economic environment through blockchain and digital identity.”
2017 has been a year of growth and industry recognition for AID:Tech, explains Thompson. “AID:Tech has been working closely with our client partners in the past year, including the UNDP and the IFRC,” he says. “We’re launching an international remittance service alongside UNDP Serbia to lower remittance costs for end users to below 3%, in line with the UN sustainable development goal targets. In 2018, we’ll be deploying our platform for other use cases including disaster relief in the US alongside a supermarket chain and for social welfare distribution in Jordan, which will be the world’s largest to date.”
Investment – the best in impact funding provided by investors and backers of all kinds, across all platforms and funding routes.
Measuring impact is something of a holy grail for investors, with backers increasingly needing to demonstrate the effectiveness of their money moves. That impact could be positive, and also negative, as fund managers are tasked with creating investment strategies that serve the greater good.
ClearlySo ATLAS, our 2017 winner, is a digital platform created to assess the social and environmental impact of businesses and investment portfolios. Developed with technical support from Reason Digital, ClearlySo ATLAS encourages more ethical and sustainable investment by making it easy to produce investment strategies that are not just for financial gain but also for the greater good.
“ClearlySo ATLAS enables private market investors to embed impact in investments.” explains John Lloyd, chief marketing officer at ClearlySo. “Embracing such innovation, for many investors, requires behavior change and education. Never an easy ask for a new product!” So what did the award win mean? “Digital Agenda’s recognition has been hugely powerful in getting the ear of the marketplace and positioning ATLAS as the best solution,” he says.
How has the ATLAS grown in the first year? “We have our first two clients and a healthy pipeline,” says Lloyd. We continue to develop our market education approach, and the product offer. Especially satisfying is the way our first client has extended our work with them and become increasingly excited about the power of integrating impact and sustainability into investment decisions.”
Sharing & partnership – digital initiatives that help people to share resources more effectively, or where collaboration enables greater community participation and an increased sense of shared purpose.
Partnership working is critical for any business wanting to make an impact locally. Our awards celebrate products and services that make the connections, and that help people and businesses share more easily.
Neighbourly, our 2017 winner, has created a social platform that connects local projects with people and businesses that want to help. It connects local community and charity projects with companies and people that can help by giving donations of time, money or surplus food.
“We were delighted as a young business to win DigitalAgenda’s sharing and partnership Impact Award in the inaugural year,” says chief executive Nick Davies. “The potential for technology to be a force for good in the world is something we’re passionate about and to reach the finals, from over 200 entries was fantastic.”
Neighbourly has no plans to rest on its award-winning laurels. How is the business growing? “In the past year our surplus redistribution programme has grown hugely, with the store roll-out of another major retailer as well as the launch of our ‘non-food’ donations feature. We are currently working on exciting plans for volunteering programmes with new clients, which will help to encourage more people to get active in their local communities,” says Davies.