World Day of Social Justice: Meet 3 EIC-funded start-ups using tech for social good
The digital economy's growth is deepening existing inequalities between countries, and the pandemic chaos is triggering a new economic crisis. Over 60 per cent of all workers lack employment contracts, and 600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030. In this context, this year's commemoration of the World Day of Social Justice supports solutions to achieve poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and access to social well-being for all. Some European start-ups are using tech to tackle issues such as unemployment, equality, or social protection. On the World Day of Social Justice, discover how 3 EIC-funded innovations are making a social impact.
Talking Hands: Innovation fostering inclusion
Deafness and hearing problems are conditions that affect about 360 million people. People with hearing impairments are relatively isolated from the community and face many integration issues at school, work, or social life. To address this problem, a team of innovative Italian researchers have created a system that translates sign language into audible speech. The EIC-funded Talking Hands project has created an innovative, portable, user-friendly gesture-recognition device for the hearing impaired.
The team engaged extensively with the deaf community on their way to bringing the product to market. With this disruptive innovation, the start-up expects to improve the quality of deaf people's lives, reducing the gap towards the access to the labour market, the relationships with other people, social inclusion, and self-confidence. The project also has other potential industrial applications by facilitating and safeguarding communications in dangerous environments.
Worldcoo: Connecting costumers with causes
The founders of Worldcoo saw the growth and potential of e-commerce as a sales channel and decided to use this trend to help the world fund its social and cooperation projects. The Spanish start-up came up with a smart widget that websites can link to their "checkout" or "basket" sections. This makes donations to charitable projects as easy as ticking a box. In 2018, they also launched a new and revolutionary channel – the Charity Round Up – that enables to make micro-donation each time we use our payment card in the main commercial establishments in Spain. Aside from improving current donation tools, the team is also designing new ones with more customisable solutions and exploring how Artificial Intelligence may increase conversion rates.
In 2019 the company announced the new round of financing led by Equity4Good, an investment vehicle managed by Ship2B, with the co-investment of the European Investment Fund of €565,000. Today Worldcoo registers one donation every second.
WorkPilots Oy: Bringing youth to the market
In today's economic context, young people's opportunities to find proper job positions are again at stake. To tackle this issue, Work Pilots, a company based in Finland, has created a mobile application that securely matches organisations with the most suited applicant for the proposed tasks. This service was implemented in more than 60 Finnish cities and has received EIC funding to support its uptake to the global market. The WorkPilots app provides a platform for those seeking an opportunity to start their work-life and those who are looking to hire a qualified member to their team quickly. On top of this, WorkPilots also promotes innovative co-creation opportunities for municipalities and other stakeholders, aiming to fight youth unemployment.
WorkPilots has been financed by private investors and has received grants from Business Finland as well. In 2017, the project won the "Service of the Year Award" given by The Finnish Service Alliance to recognise their innovative impact on society and businesses.