There is a saying, that: „One swallow does not make a summer.”… but these swallows decided to come together and try to make it.
On the 30th of September we organized the third SIA Hungary 2021 award ceremony & pitch event.
Social Impact Award (SIA) is more than a simple award: the world’s largest training and support program for higher education students and young people working on sustainability, environmental and social innovation projects. SIA, founded in 2009, runs education and incubation programs in more than 15 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia to support early-stage social entrepreneurs in developing and implementing innovative business solutions to tackle the most important societal challenges of our times.
The competition was very tight among Hungary’s most innovative, young social entrepreneurs, so the jury distributed three prizes among the competitors instead of the planned two prizes. In addition to the 3 prizes, we also had a Community Award winner. The winners are: Carely, Énprojekt, Kontekt, and Redo Fashion won the Community Award. I asked them some questions about their biggest challenge, lessons learnt and their future plans. Let’s see their answers!
„We give new life to tailoring residues and provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”
Redo Fashion uses tailoring and textile residues of small fashion brands to design accessories that are created by employing people living with disabilities. They make bags, shawls, hair bands, products they would love to wear as well. The team consists of enthusiastic high school students.
„The biggest challenge was the lack of experience. Since we are high school students, we have no skills in how to build a business.. We have learnt a lot about our team, and how we can work together effectively, schedule our time well and to distribute the tasks equally. It was interesting to note that we are now completely ourselves and it is absolutely up to us how the final product will end up like. Our short-term plans include financing our new collection and selling our products in smaller stores, the financial basis of which is partly based on the prize and partly on our previous revenues. One of our long-term plans is to open our own sewing shop and expand our company abroad, by making our products locally.”
“In order for Carely to provide a real perspective to its employees and customers with a high level of service, we need continuous learning and the search for new opportunities.”
Carely, one of the winners of SIA 2021,recognized that many people with disabilities are unable to find work in Hungary, while many jobs remain unfilled. They want to combine the two sides and provide work to more people with disabilities that is worthy of their professional development.
„The biggest challenge of the recent months has been to be able to fulfill the growing number of orders coming to us both from the private sector and public institutions and at the same time preparing for the competition. The greatest lesson we learnt is to keep learning, training ourselves, and preparing ahead for the challenges. Fortunately, we gained a lot of such knowledge during our mentoring. Our long-term goal is to turn Carely into a social innovation workshop, where our employees can do a variety of jobs like landscaping or office and IT work. In addition, our ongoing goal is not only to provide certain services, but also to highlight the importance of creating jobs and opportunities for our fellow human beings with disabilities.”
“The results of the past year show that we are on the right track. We have embarked on that particular path when the name Kontekt was pronounced by the jury.”
Kontekt is a device for reuniting families that can be used easily by the elderly, who are less open to technological innovation. It is a simple, user-friendly device that can work with both old and smart televisions, its integrated camera and microphone makes it possible to have high-quality video calls just by clicking one button.
„The biggest challenge for us was to compete with operating businesses, as our project is only in the idea phase, we appreciate the award we received from the jury as a great achievement. We learned a lot during the incubation period, but perhaps the most significant was the lesson about pitch techniques. By developing in this, we can get our value proposition to more people, in much better quality. From the prize, we will implement the first phases of our marketing strategy and create 10 prototypes to carry out long-term tests and design our product.”
”Ask for help is okay.”
The third winner, Énprojekt is an online place where you can book a psychologist, coach or advisor with a charity tip in order to enable people in need to get the same quality support as anyone. It’s not just a searching platform: they help people to find the right type of program, the best professional for their personal needs and interests and the form of how they can apply to the organization: as a supporting or a supported participant.
„SIA has given us a lot. They helped us develop locally but with a global perspective. They highlighted that a financial model based on sustainability is essential to represent a social cause, moreover, our funding is a dual responsibility: we are responsible for the future of those working on the project, and we have a strong impact on the lives of all those we help. From the support, we will finance our organizational formation and develop our customer service, the website, as we want to make mental health care and career awareness available to everyone. For this, € 1,500 is a starting amount for which we are very grateful.”