The 13 winners of the first-ever DigitalAgenda Impact Awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust, have been announced. The awards – unveiled at a packed ceremony at London’s Barbican Centre – celebrate digital innovations making a positive impact on the way the UK lives, learns and does business.
The 13 winners, picked from more than 200 entries across three overarching themes – people, places and business – include literacy support software helping over 3.5m children overcome everyday reading and writing challenges in classrooms worldwide, a network connecting businesses to ensure no edible food goes to waste and a new platform harnessing blockchain technology to ensure aid reaches its desired destination.
DigitalAgenda’s panel of 12 judges – with extensive experience in startups, investment and impact technology – chose the winning projects based on the their idea, product and team, as well as their potential for scale and impact.
Impact Awards 2017 – winners
Education (sponsored by Edtech UK)
Texthelp provides literacy support software for reading, writing and language learning in classrooms worldwide, helping students to overcome everyday reading and writing challenges.
Employment & skills (sponsored by ConnectTVT)
Founders4Schools is a charity that helps students aged 10 to 18 bridge the skills gap that bars them from entering work, connecting schools and students to an impressive network of digital business leaders.
Health (sponsored by Digital Catapult)
Babylon was created to put an affordable health service into the hands of everyone. As well as video GP appointments and free medicine delivery, Babylon uses artificial intelligence, which is always learning, to provide a 24/7 symptom checker service.
Money (sponsored by BWB Compliance)
Squirrel is a simple bank account controlled by an app that makes it easy to budget, save, and avoid running out of money. It aims to empower users to take control of their money by putting money away so that it’s spent on what’s needed.
Cities (supported by Future Cities Catapult)
Pavegen is a clean technology company looking to redefine sustainability in the built environment, with the creation of a pioneering flooring technology that generates electricity and captures data from footsteps.
Climate (sponsored by The Planet Mark)
Bulb is a technology-led, renewable energy supplier on a mission to transform the way energy is bought, used and produced. It gives UK homes and businesses a choice of low-cost renewable energy alongside excellent customer service.
FoodCloud is a social enterprise connecting businesses that have surplus food with local charities and community groups, helping ensure no edible food goes to waste.
Smart (sponsored by Design for Social Change)
Wayfindr is a non-profit on a mission to empower the 285 million people living with sight loss worldwide to take new journeys, increase confidence and open up new opportunities for relationships, employment and cultural experiences. Its open standard is designed to help make places and spaces more accessible.
Saberr creates happy, high-performing teams through software that helps people work well together, using data collection and algorithms to predict and improve performance.
Investment (sponsored by GP Bullhound)
ClearlySo ATLAS 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.
Sharing & partnership
Neighbourly is 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.
Social and economic transformation (sponsored by ClearlySo)
AID:Tech harnesses blockchain technology to ensure that every donated resource – financial, medical supplies, food or blankets – is traceable at the point of use, ensuring that the right people receive the right help at the right time.
DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake, who has led the creation of the Impact Awards, said: “The Impact Awards highlight the extraordinary potential for technology to be a positive force and celebrate technology that is being used for impact, not just for profit.”
“Technology isn’t seen by everyone as a force for good. There’s actually a tense relationship between the public and technology, with understandable fears about its effect on fundamentals like privacy, work and even happiness. But digital offers to answer some of the big challenges we face. Digital has the potential to deliver positive change fast, and at scale. It is changing the way children learn. It is making people healthier. It is improving public services. It helps us respond to people movements and floods. And it helps us understand global trends.
Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder, was the headline sponsor for the Impact Awards. Vicki Hearn, director of Nominet Trust, said: “We’re incredibly proud to support DigitalAgenda in championing the pioneers using digital technology to enable positive change, and in raising the profile of the flourishing tech for good sector in the UK. Through our grant funding, partnerships and annual NT100, it is clear that Nominet Trust shares with DigitalAgenda a belief in the transformative power of digital technology when creatively applied to social challenges. It has been an honour to recognise these inspiring entrepreneurs and to celebrate their achievements.”
The ceremony took place at London’s Barbican Centre this afternoon before an audience of 250. Speakers included:
- Sir Tim Smit – co-founder of the Eden Project
- Mike Bracken – head of digital from Co-op
- The team from BBC2’s Big Life Fix
- Sue Black from #techmums/Saving Bletchley Park – and the winner of a special editor’s Impact Award today for her outstanding contribution to technology for good.
- The event also featured a Nominet Trust innovator showcase featuring groundbreaking tech for good startups GiveVision and Open Bionics.
Impact Awards – criteria and judges
DigitalAgenda’s call for Impact Awards entries closed in January with over 200 submissions. Its awards jury drew up a shortlist of three for each of the 12 awards categories, assessing entries using five criteria – idea, product, team, scalability and impact.
Julian Blake – DigitalAgenda (chair of judges)
Mike Butcher MBE – TechCrunch
Simon Davey – Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness
Ed Evans – Nominet Trust
Ellie Hale – CAST
Andrew Huddart – Fast Forward London
Katz Kiely – Kiely & Co
Mike Mompi – ClearlySo
Kate Sandle – B Lab
Jess Stacey – Bethnal Green Ventures
Pete Trainor – Nexus CX
Jess Tyrrell – Ustwo.