Antonio Huertas: “We are a socially committed company and therefore the Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation have focused on society right from the outset.”
• The winners were chosen from among more than 200 projects submitted by researchers and entrepreneurs from Latin America and Europe.
• The 27 semi-finalists received a mentoring program to boost the visibility of their projects and the three winners each received 30,000 euros to develop their initiatives.
• The call for the third edition of the awards opens tomorrow, on Friday, October 11.
A Spanish project, NAVILENS, an innovative system of digital markers that gives blind people more autonomy; the Brazilian NEUROBOTS project, a rehabilitative exoskeleton for people who have had a stroke, and the Colombian project MIBKCLUB, a financial system to improve the prospects low-income families, were all named winners of the second edition of the Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation.
According to Javier Pita, one of the developers of the Murcian company NAVILENS, “we are proud to win this award, which has become one of the most prestigious international awards in its field in only its second edition. This recognition will give us a huge boost in helping to extend this system that helps visually impaired people move around more independently in their daily life”. NAVILENS has now been implemented in several public spaces in Spain, such as on bus routes and subway lines and even in museums, and is working in line with expectations and has been extremely well received. The coding, which uses 100 percent Spanish technology, is unique on the world stage, and has been patented in Spain. The team intends to transform it into a universal code in the very near future.
Julio Dantas, CEO of NEUROBOTS, acknowledges that “receiving an award as important as the Fundación MAPFRE award brings with it the recognition that we are moving in the right direction and that our project has global appeal. In addition to the self-improvement and self-awareness process that we went through during the preparation for the award, we now have more resources to develop a solution that will enable us to help millions of people in need. Science and technology are constantly evolving in order to find new techniques and therapies that can achieve faster rehabilitation. NEUROBOTS, an exoskeleton controlled by brain sensors and complex software, enables patients to regain an average of 30 percent of motor function in their arms in just two weeks.
Maribel Torcatt, creator of MIBKCLUB, believes that this award “is a recognition of our work, and the team’s efforts and, of course, an opportunity to increase the impact of our project, because we are going to use this money to improve our technology and provide this service to more people. MIBKCLUB is a monthly subscription service that combines different savings, insurance, health, education and housing options which act as a poverty buffer. Low-income families are able to redirect part of their available budgets via an innovative channel designed with their particular needs in mind.
This ceremony, which was held in Madrid, was opened by Antonio Huertas, president of Fundación MAPFRE, who highlighted that “the boost that these awards provide will open lots of doors”. In this same vein, Huertas made reference to last year’s three winners, and specifically to Salva Gutiérrez, the winner of the e-health category, and inventor of MJN Neuroserveis, which is on the brink of marketing a small electronic device that can predict epileptic seizures; Comunidad 4 Uno, winners in the insurtech category, a company that created a mobile app that now enables 2,000 domestic workers in Mexico to access basic insurance for less than 5 euros a month; and Scoobic, winners of the mobility and road safety category, who have built a sustainable delivery vehicle that also saves lives and which will soon be in operation on Madrid’s streets. “In an increasingly globalized world, they may appear to be small innovative projects, however, they bring about major benefits, especially for those who are most in need. They help to transform the world”, affirmed the president of Fundación MAPFRE.
The ceremony was brought to a close by Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for Agenda 2030.
232 submissions, 27 semi-finalists, 9 finalists and 3 winners
Designed as a competition and spread over three geographical regions, Brazil, LATAM (excluding Brazil) and Europe, the objective of the Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation is to help increase the number of proposals that contribute to solving and improving specific aspects of the world in which we live in the areas of health, mobility and insurance culture.
The call for the second edition received a total of 232 projects created by scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and students from universities and business schools.
Only 27 of them, the most innovative proposals, were given a place in the three regional semi-finals, recently held in Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Madrid. The selected entrants also participated in a mentoring program to boost the visibility of their projects.
The nine winners presented their proposals today in the final held in Madrid, in front of a judging panel of social innovation experts who chose the projects with the greatest potential for social impact and which were the most viable from a technical, economic and organizational perspective.
The judging panel highlighted the high quality of all the projects submitted, which provide effective and innovative solutions to a variety of issues facing society in different parts of the world.
Antonio Huertas, president of Fundación MAPFRE, announced that tomorrow, Friday, 11 October, the third edition of the awards will be launched “because there are so many projects with a social dimension that deserve this opportunity”.
The winners in each category have received a 30,000 euro cash prize to develop their projects.
All the information on the finalists is available at Fundación MAPFRE’s press office: https://noticias.fundacionmapfre.org/