On the warm evening of Wednesday, 21 May, the Social Impact Award (SIA) ceremony took place at the A1 Telekom Venue in Vienna. This year, the competition for entrepreneurship was organised in eight European countries with a total of 324 submissions.
The idea behind the Austrian SIA (founded in 2008) is to give students from all over the country the opportunity to develop their social or ecological projects. Out of 113 submissions, a new record as the organisational members explained, 13 finalists were chosen to present their ideas at the event. While the most contributions came from the area of Vienna, also Styria, Tyrol, and Upper Austria were among the finalists. The project areas ranged from energy saving to educational projects and shared space ideas for urban living. The teams managed the first obstacles to make it into the finals but only the best ideas will be awarded.
Out of the 13 finalists, three projects were chosen by an expert jury, one by a community online voting and another special prize was chosen by the immediate audience. The preparations for the SIA started early this year. After the kick off in January, 23 Workshops with over 530 Participants gave the students an insight into generating ideas, creating business models and meeting target groups. Although this process was described as tough by some of the finalists, they were happy about the support. “This award has encouraged and enabled me to believe in myself and to believe that certain things are possible”, host and former winner of the SIA Hannah Lux justified the efforts.
After the introduction and personal notes from Diego Heatherman (SIA-Coordinator), Peter Vandor (founder of SIA) as well as event-partners Franz Karl Prüller (Erste Stiftung) and Peter Schiefer (A1 Telekom), the teams and audience couldn’t wait to get to know who Austria’s winners of SIA 2014 are.
The lucky winners
Social Friends: The first of the four Social Impact Awards went to Social Friends. The team wants to facilitate access to sports for young disabled people.
Green VISION: Another Award went to Green VISION. The team works on a tablet that provides texts in Braille for blind people.
PROSA: Last but not least, PROSA got the fifth SIA. Their idea is to provide secondary education and mentoring programmes for refugees or people excluded from society.
Vienna Legal Literacy Project: The audience award went to team of law students who aim to introduce young people to the basic legal concepts of everyday life.
The four SIA winner teams were rewarded with 4.000 euros seed capital each as well as professional help for their projects and a summer membership at the Impact Hub Vienna. The audience award winners, on the other hand, got coaching support from Martin Haiderer (Kompassberatung) in order to further develop their ideas and learn more about getting started with a business. “Those who didn’t win today got the ideas of tomorrow”, Prüller encouraged the teams who went home without a prize.
Find out more about last years’ highlights of the Social Impact Award here.