There are now less that three weeks until the 2018 Impact Awards close for entries. Four of our awards recognise innovations that are improving places. Our 2017 winners in this theme – Pavegen, Bulb, FoodCloud and Wayfindr – tell us what the awards meant to them, and how they’ve grown their ventures since March.
Digital technology is helping places to reinvent themselves, across cities, towns and countryside. Whether it is in creating new ways to help cut pollution and carbon emissions, helping people connect faster and more effectively, to helping authorities using resources more efficiently, technology is helping make a massive change to create the place and spaces of the future.
2018’s Impact Awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust in association with Berenberg, are open for entries until December 18. Here we hear from 2017’s winners about what their award meant, and what’s happened to their businesses since.
Cities – digital initiatives that enhance places and spaces, making them better places to live, work and play.
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.
With recognition starting to come through, what did our Impact Awards win mean to Pavegen? Founder and chief executive Laurence Kemball-Cook says: “With the support of the respected DigitalAgenda community, this award has really helped to open doors for us in many of the markets we are targeting.”
“Since winning, we’ve delivered landmark projects including the world’s first smart street in London and our first collaboration with Google in Berlin and we expect to have doubled our turnover by year-end.”
Climate – technologies that help organisations to manage and understand environmental change, helping them to create places that are more sustainable.
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.
Co-founder Hayden Wood says winning the climate award “meant a huge amount to the team at Bulb. Since winning, Bulb has grown its membership from 15,000 to over 200,000. This means our members are removing more than 380,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.”
Sustainable living – technologies that enable individuals to live more sustainably, by providing higher-quality, healthier food or reducing waste.
FoodCloud (winner of 2017’s food category) is a social enterprise connecting businesses that have surplus food with local charities and community groups, helping ensure no edible food goes to waste.
Co-founder and chief executive Iseult Ward says the Impact Awards “are an excellent way to highlight the importance of using technology to solve major global problems. Winning the award in 2016 was amazing recognition for the positive impact our solution is having across the UK and Ireland, raising awareness about the problem of food waste and at the same time, the scalable solution we have developed to address it.”
Smart – products and services using smart technologies, including around travel, to make urban and rural living easier, offering greater mobility and enabling people to connect more easily.
Wayfindr is a non-profit on a mission to empower the 285m 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.
Director Florence Orban says: “Winning an Impact Award has led to much greater awareness of Wayfindr and our transformative ambitions for accessible technology and new connections with tech partners who have joined our community and are now looking to develop accessible navigation solutions.”
So what’s happened since March? “Our business has gone from strength to strength, with our standard approved by the International Telecommunications Union, meaning it is recognised in 193 countries around the world. We have also made great progress on trials in Norway, Spain, and the US and are in advanced discussions for roll-outs in the UK across retail, transport, and cultural venues. Our vision of a Wayfindr-enabled accessible future is becoming real as we expect to see several live installations by the end of 2018.”