In all the sexy glitz and glamour of the tech entrepreneur industry, we have seen many entrepreneurs building up their start-ups to be the next big unicorn exit. After all, ye who succeeds in building lots of traction and high revenue growth are truly one to be invested in, respected and glorified. No doubt on that scene, but are we really making a positive impact on change in our respective communities?
I have been privileged to be a semi-final judge in the SMU Lee Kuan Yew Business Plan Competition for 2015. What humbled me were the different business proposals coming from socially-changing and transforming community entrepreneurs. They were here offering solutions to resolve the basic needs of communities. Some solutions like Lifecollar of Bangladesh is not of any technological marvel, but it was a great simple design to save lives during an earthquake, or caneTIN, a bio-tin housing material that can be easily produced to build houses in Bangladesh.
The technology start-ups also came up with innovative technical solutions that resolve issues to better lives. Blitab from Austria, an automatic tactile tablet for the blind, helps translate documents into tactiles for the vision-impaired, or SAFER, which alerts the community to possible rapes. Hajj Guider from Pakistan, built a location wearable to help families locate each other while on the Hajj, is another application to ease anxieties and ensure safety.
So, when you are thinking of building a business, include that question, “how does my solution help to transform and impact my community?” Sometimes, we might not be making that much money, but the amount of karma, goodwill and blessings upon others is definitely a priceless one. Let not our goals just be for money, but for the betterment of lives.
I hope this youtube presentations below will trigger more community changing solutions. Please do comment below and showcase any other interesting relevant start-ups that are changing society.
Youtube business presentations
- HajjGuider (Pakistan) – Location detection wearable for Hajj (no GPS needed)
- Canetin (Bangladesh) – Bio-Tin Housing Material
- Blitab (Austria) – Automated tactile tablet for the blind
- Lifecollar (Bangladesh) – Neck support collar made of cheap raw materials for disaster quake areas.
- SAFER (India) – Rape alert wearables
Here’s wishing all finalists good luck in the competition. Even if you did not win, you are changing the communities and that I salute you.
*The youtube business presentations were approved for release by their respective founders at the time of publishing.
This article is the fourth of the ‘Startup Advisory Clinic’ Series.
This article first appeared on Tech in Asia.