Entrepreneurial ideas arise virtually all the time. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good, but many of them are great, and they also have the scope and ambition to change the world, or at least part of it. However, innovation practice shows that even the best idea simply cannot do without good execution and the support of experienced people who have been down many blind alleys and can therefore show you the way not to go. And for these cases, there is a great competition and, in fact, the entire Social Impact Award (SIA) programme, which has been organised by the Impact Hub network since 2009.
During the SIA, participants go through an acceleration programme, which is a complete process from acceptance of the project to the announcement of the winner. SIA is intended for young innovators and startups and targets projects at an early stage of development or implementation of innovative solutions that respond to important societal challenges of our time. It helps them to implement, advises them, points out pitfalls and gives them open feedback. This allows participants to refine and push their project on the fly.
And the programme is not just a domestic affair. Over the course of its existence, SIA has expanded to 28 countries and continues to grow. “From a global perspective, we have stood alongside more than 800 teams, organised more than a thousand workshops, and nearly forty thousand young people from all over the world have attended our events. It’s a great joy to see so many young, promising people who are not indifferent to the way the world works,” says Petr Vítek, Impact Hub co-founder and the person who got us involved in the first place. And we’re glad he did.
We’ve been on the jury since the beginning of the competition, and every year we teach young entrepreneurs innovation methodologies as part of the accelerator. During the one-day funnel we impart maximum knowledge to them, which they can use directly in their endeavours. And at the same time, we consult with them on what are their most pressing challenges at the moment and how to approach them.
“It’s also very inspiring for us to see how much ideas move forward in acceleration, and it’s gratifying to see how the HCD helps improve the product proposition to make it really useful,” says Zuzka Ehrlichová, one of the trainers from Direct People, about the training.
“In addition to HCD, we like to use Ashe Maurya’s Lean methodology with SIA participants. It helps to make projects business-realistic and to set out the right activities to focus on so that the project can move forward,” commented Míša Vlasáková.
The Social Impact Award programme is a beautiful but also time-consuming one. But there is absolutely no doubt that it makes sense. For everyone involved. Apart from being an extremely interesting journey into the depths of an innovator’s very young soul for those of us who are experienced, it also gives hope to all of us. As long as there are people like this who invest their time and energy in doing good, things might not be so bad yet. So if you’re under 30 and have an idea in your head that is innovative, feasible and has a big social impact, and you’ve been cultivating it for at least a year, we encourage you to apply. The next edition starts in March 2022.
EMOTER – A brilliantly sophisticated concept that aims to improve the living conditions of Ugandans through medical outreaches, health education, charitable donations, prevention and vaccinations.
Indiánka – The project aims to de-taboo the topic of fertility, endometriosis, premature menopause, hormonal imbalances and similar “surprises” in women’s life. It is an intergenerational outreach, opening up other “taboo” topics regarding womanhood and motherhood, roles and patterns and relationships. It gives courage and belonging to those concerned and the knowledge that they are not alone in this.
Pragulic – Pragulic is a social enterprise that enables interested members of the public to experience and learn about the life of homeless people, thereby changing the stereotypes surrounding homelessness.
Rekola – Shared bikes across the country. You don’t have to own a bike to ride one. You just need to borrow one. Whether you’re going to a meeting or on a trip, take advantage of pink bikesharing. One app and the ability to rent a bike in any of the ten cities where Rekola rides.
Czechitas – A Star is Born. This educational non-profit organization, whose goal is to strengthen diversity in IT and fight for higher digital literacy among women and children, has already trained thousands of girls and has gained such respect that they received a million euros from Velux, CTP “gave” them space to build a training center in Brno, and enjoys long-term support and cooperation with Google.