Impact Awards 2018 winners unveiled

The winners of the 2018 DigitalAgenda Impact Awards – celebrating tech-for-good innovations that improve people’s lives and the world around us – have been announced. Julian Blake reports.

winnersThe awards, in their second year, are open to any business, government or non-profit using digital products or services for positive social or environmental benefit.

300 tech-for-good innovators, investors, policymakers, academics and more joined DigitalAgenda for the awards event at Oval Space, in the heart of the east London tech business cluster, this evening.

The Impact Awards are sponsored by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder, in association with Berenberg, one of Europe’s longest-established private banks.

When the awards closed for submissions in December, 253 entries had come in from across the UK into 12 different awards categories. Entries were 25% up on 2017  – and the quality across the board was impressive.

The Impact Awards are split into three themes – people, places and business.

Impact Awards 2018 – winners

People-themed awards

Education – covering technologies that are transforming teaching and learning, in schools, universities or online. Sponsored by Barclays

Winner: Digital Theatre+ – the world’s leading educational platform for English and the performing arts, providing over three million students, within 1,150 schools, colleges and universities, across 65 countries, with access to 800+ performances and educational resources. @DigitalTheatre

Finalists: Learn My Way – learning platform built by Good Things Foundation to make getting online easy. YouTeachMe – enabling education professionals to create and use quality videos in their teaching.

Employment & skills – celebrating technology that is changing ways into work, and work itself, as well as initiatives to improve people’s digital skills and access to tech talent. Sponsored by BCS

Winner: Koru Kids – startup providing childcare solutions to working parents. It helps parents ‘nanny share’, introducing families through an online marketplace then taking care of all the paperwork like contracts, payroll, taxes, pension and payments via its platform. @korukids

Finalists: Code Your Future – supporting and empowering asylum seekers and refugees to become software developers. WhiteHat – matching non-graduate talent with apprenticeship opportunities

Health – recognising technologies that enhance healthcare knowledge and treatment, as well as helping people to lead healthier lives. Sponsored by Reason Digital

Winner: SH:24 – an online sexual and reproductive health service. By providing services online for free, SH:24 is able to release capacity and money in the NHS at the same time as providing people with a flexible, accessible service. @sh24_nhs

Finalists: In Your Pocket, offering smartphone-enabled accessibility for people who are vision impaired. GoodGym, supporting runners to get fit by doing good.

Sharing & communities – recognising digital products and services that help people share resources, or where collaboration enables greater community participation. Sponsored by Sharemrkt/The People Who Share

Winner: OLIO – free app tackling the problem of food waste by connecting neighbours with each other, and with local shops and cafes, so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. @OLIO_ex

Finalists: Age UK – using digital to help scale its Call in Time telephone befriending service. TalkLife: a social network providing support to young people struggling with mental health and the ups and downs of life.

Places-themed awards

Cities – digital initiatives that improve urban places and spaces, making them better places to live, work and play. Sponsored by HereEast

Winner: Go Jauntly – free community-based platform helping people discover and share walks near and far. Its philanthropic founders started it in 2017 through their digital product and service design consultancy, Furthermore. @gojauntly

Finalists: The Future Fox – working to accelerate the development of smart, sustainable and people-focused cities. TRIK – a mobile and web application built for insurance, engineering and construction enterprise.

Climate – helping businesses and government organisations to create more sustainable places. Sponsored by The Planet Mark

Winner: Switchee is the first smart thermostat for social housing. It fights fuel poverty and provides landlords with remote data insights that save energy, cut maintenance costs and improve resident well-being. @SwitcheeUK

Finalists: Green Lab – London workspace for entrepreneurs and organisations that are designing beautiful solutions to complex food, water and waste problems. Voyage Control – an air traffic control system for trucks, streamlining operations and reducing air pollution and congestion.

Smart – initiatives that use connected physical devices both at home and across towns and cities, to make urban and rural living easier, offering greater mobility and enabling people to connect more easily. 

Winner: Alcove – internet-of-things-powered care technology business pioneering independent living for older and disabled adults. Its assistive technology ecosystem combines sensors, wearables, activity monitoring, alerting, emergency response, a communication aid and carer check-in to replace fixed-line telecare. @youralcove

Finalists: Little Riot – makes products that close distances and keep loved ones close. It facilitates human connection where it may not otherwise be possible. SteamaCo – bringing electricity to tens of thousands of previously unconnected consumers in Africa

Sustainable living – celebrating technologies that help people to live more sustainably, whether in providing higher-quality, healthier food, sourcing products with better information to hand, or in reducing waste Sponsored by Gone for Good

Winner: SafetyNet Technologies develops light-emitting devices to help fishing boats catch the right fish and tackle some of the biggest issues facing the commercial fishing industry. It has developed products that can lower unwanted bycatch by 90% and improve fishing revenues by up to 20%. @SNTechUK

Finalists: Alexandra Rose Charity, on a mission to develop the ‘Rosie’ app to create digital vouchers and automate the process of voucher reimbursement to traders. Arc-net – supporting producers and brand owners to provide access to safe and authentic produce through the distributed power of the blockchain.

Business-themed awards

Business transformation – entries from businesses, government agencies and non-profits, working on transformational projects to create more effective and responsive products and services, as well as more productive places to work. Sponsored by Opencast Software

Winner: Citizens Advice, founded in 1939, provides free, confidential and independent advice, information and support to anyone who needs it. Every year it helps millions online, over the phone and face-to-face. It has designed a case management system that is easy to use and intuitive. It wanted its Casebook system to more reflect the sort of products its volunteers may use outside of work, and be easy to use without training or specialist skills. @CitizensAdvice

Finalists : Apolitical – an online peer-to-peer platform for sharing ideas about public services. Unmind – a B2B mental health platform, providing clinically backed tools and training to create healthier, happier, more human organisations.

Financial inclusion – when it comes to impact, money doesn’t just mean business what we do with it, and how much we have, affects all of our lives. This award celebrates technologies that enhance access to financial services. Sponsored by Impact Reporting

Winner: LOQBOX aims to fix financial exclusion by enabling everyone to build their credit history, their financial education and their savings. Anyone using the service can build their history with the big credit reference agencies and also learn responsible financial management while they save, for free. @LOQBOX

Finalists: AID:Tech – for-profit company with a social mission to address some the world’s largest social issues. SalaryFinance – socially responsible employee benefit that helps people become more financially healthy

Investment – recognising the best in impact funding from both public and private sources, and across traditional venture and alternative investment routes like crowdfunding. Sponsored by ClearlySo

Winner: Bethnal Green Ventures -an early-stage investor that helps to launch and grow tech ventures with the potential to become hugely successful businesses that positively impact millions of lives. It invests in innovative ideas in health, education, sustainability, democracy and society. It is best known for its 12-week accelerator programme, which provides investment, co-working space and intensive mentoring and support. To date, BGV has supported 95 ventures, investing £1.9m. Ventures report a combined positive impact on 18m lives. @bg_ventures

Finalists: Nesta Impact Investments – one of the first fund managers in the UK to launch a dedicated social impact fund. UnLtd – the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world.

Social and economic transformation – recognising outward-facing initiatives from business, government and non-profits that look to make a positive impact on the wider world. Sponsored by Us Ai 

Winner: what3words – an innovative global addressing system that has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique address made from three dictionary words. It’s the simplest way to communicate location and provides everyone and everywhere with an accurate and reliable address. what3words uses an algorithm, and every three-word address is fixed and will never change, meaning that what3words works offline, without a data connection, making it ideal for use in remote locations. Three-word addresses can also be used in 14 languages, with many more launching in 2018. @what3words

Finalists: The Federation – an open community of digital businesses and innovators in Manchester, built on ethical values, sponsored by the Co-op Group. Yoti – a free and safe digital identity app, giving everyone a simpler, faster and safer way of proving their identity.

People’s choice – in a first for 2018, voting was opened to the public for our Impact Awards people’s choice award. With 2500 votes cast, the result was a close call with just a handful of votes between our top three. Presented by Richard Brass, Berenberg

Winner: TalkLife(11.9% of the vote) – a social network providing support to young people struggling with mental health and the ups and downs of life. It provides an engaging, intuitive peer support platform where users can talk about how they’re feeling and connect to others. Its global platform now supports hundreds of thousands of users. The company is proud of its safeguarding, research partnerships and determination to change the way the world thinks about mental health.

Runners up: Go Jauntly (11.3%) – app helping people discover and share walks. Code Your Future (9.5%) – coding school for refugees and other displaced people

Individual impact award – a jury award for outstanding contribution by an individual in helping to grow technology for good, through personal giving of time or money. This year celebrating an ‘unsung hero’ of tech for good. Presented by Mike Bracken, Public Digital

Winner: Tom Steinberg – founder of mySociety – a non-profit created to build and

popularise digital tools giving citizens power over institutions and decision makers. He was its director for 12 years until 2015, running websites like, FixMyStreet and

Congratulations to all our winners!

The Impact Awards celebrate technology used for impact, not just profit. The response in this our second year has been brilliant, with both the quality and quantity of entries up on year one.

Vicki Hearn, director of awards headline sponsor Nominet Trust, said: “Today we have celebrated the very best in social tech innovation in the UK. I’d like to congratulate the winners and all the organisations shortlisted for their many achievements

“For 10 years, Nominet Trust has been at the forefront of funding the growth of socially motivated tech. Today’s awards demonstrates the potential of what we can all achieve together.”

View the Impact Awards event programme


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