September 07 2016By Jess Dillon
- Economic Empowerment
Digital technology and the internet have transformed the world around us, unleashing a new era of innovation and creativity that has empowered communities, disrupted industries and redefined the way we interact with each other. However, there still remains a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to use technology to tackle social challenges on a much larger scale and ultimately touch more people’s lives than ever before.
Now in its fourth year, the NT100 aims to celebrate this creativity and inspire others by shining the spotlight on some of the most notable examples of social innovation from around the world. Last year’s NT100 featured some remarkable projects and with the call for nominations for the 2016 NT100 closing in just a few days, we thought it would be the perfect time to look back at some of the alumni from 2015 and see how far they’ve come a year on.
PulseGuard creates wearable devices to monitor heart rates and crucially any significant change in rhythm, which can help to pre-empt major seizures. Since the 2015 NT100, the business has been working on developing relationships with charities and service providers in the epilepsy care sector, as well as selling its product directly to families that need it. The exposure from the NT100 has also allowed PulseGuard to explore new routes to market, such as care homes, where it had previously struggled to gain traction.
Following the 2015 NT100, GiveVision pre-launched its first product - a sight enhancement kit based on virtual reality goggles to help the visually impaired or blind to complete daily tasks. Commenting on the impact of the NT100 on their business, Elodie Drapery, Co-Founder, GiveVision said: “Once we’d been awarded a place on the 2015 NT100, we began to include the branding on different documents to help raise our profile. We instantly noticed an increase in interest as more and more people started asking us about our work. It was great to see such a change and rise in people asking us to work with them, when they’d not heard much about us before.”
We also featured Andiamo, which creates bespoke 3D printed orthotic devices. Since Andiamo featured in the 2015 NT100, the organisation took part in an e-Health competition against 300 other business, winning £160,000. Additionally, it has also secured grant funding of £96,000 and is looking to take its product to market in the coming months. Essentially, the 2015 NT100 has given Andiamo the credibility it needs to secure its position as a leader in combatting orthotics globally.
What3words is another company that made it onto the 2015 NT100 and is a nice example of the breadth of innovations we saw last year. What3words is a location reference system based on a global grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares, each pre-assigned to a unique 3-word address. Around 75% of countries around the world suffer from inconsistent or complicated addressing systems, which means billions of people are invisible to the state and can’t get access to aid, finance or exercise their right to vote. What3words is on a mission to improve customer experiences, drive business efficiencies and save lives. It’s already being used by the UN and The World Bank to monitor cholera outbreaks, at Glastonbury for first aid response and by Carteiro Amigo to deliver medicine and post in the favelas. The exposure it received from the NT100 has enabled it to get in front of the people that can help them address the people who need the technology the most.
As the organisations featured in last year’s NT100 continue to propel their innovations to the next stage, we’re excited to see what this year has in store! With the theme for the 2016 NT100 set as ‘Everyday Tech Heroes’, we want to hear from entrepreneurs that have identified a social challenge in their community and used technology to create a novel solution. The call for nominations closes on Friday 30th September 2016 so there’s just enough time to get your applications in and give your social innovation a chance to receive the recognition it deserves. Application forms can be found here GOOD LUCK!