TEXT: ÁNGEL MARTOS
The lyrics of John Lennon’s legendary song Imagine, played by a Ukrainian string quartet, opened the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards ceremony. A tribute to the suffering of the European country invaded by Russia and a pop reference to the ability to imagine social alternatives with a view to a fairer and more sustainable world, which is in the DNA of the participating projects, finalists and winners of the competition.
“You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one . I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will be as one”
Imagine, John Lennon
The final ceremony, held at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, began with a speech by Antonio Huertas, President of Fundación MAPFRE, and was closed by Teresa Riesgo, Secretary General for Innovation at the Ministry of Science and Innovation. It was also attended by Santiago Iñiguez, president of IE University, an academic partner, and Carlos Arango, general director of Fundación EY España, a collaborator in the awards.
During her speech, Ms. Riesgo pointed out that “We all win with these awards, we all win with social innovation.” She also stressed that in order to achieve adequate solutions to complex problems “They must be sustainable, not only environmentally, but also socially and in human terms.”
In his speech, Antonio Huertas defined social innovation as “one of the most powerful shortcuts for promoting change and closing all the gaps” in terms of gender, inclusion, equality, and so on.. Because, in addition, “It comes from within society itself, from people who are perfectly aware of the reality they are facing.” At Fundación MAPFRE, he concluded, “We are absolutely convinced that by sponsoring these innovation processes and striving to boost their visibility we can help to raise awareness of them and ensure that they are implemented in the most appropriate way.”
The awards include a 40,000 euro prize per category. In addition, the project representatives receive free consulting services from EY to help them grow and become more efficient. They also become part of Red Innova, a network of entrepreneurs made up of participants in previous editions of the awards, which fosters the exchange of expert knowledge and contributes to the social innovation ecosystem.
In this fifth edition, the winners included Kuvu, a Spanish platform for shared accommodation that promotes coexistence between young people and the elderly. Another award went to Lysa, from Brazil, the first robot guide dog designed to provide independence, safety and quality of life for the visually impaired. Finally, the last award went to Ana, from Mexico, an online service that provides support to caregivers and family members of people with chronic and degenerative diseases.
At the close of this fifth edition, in which 222 projects participated, it was also announced that a fourth region will be included next year, the United States, a region brimming with social innovation. One more reason for looking forward with excitement to a new edition of the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards.