The 20 winners will receive €20,000 each to carry out their projects, receive mentoring, hold roadshows to raise finance, and receive media coverage.
The largest number of the 2,251 projects presented came from Brazil, Spain and Mexico, representing over 60%.
Madrid, 17 July 2020 – PRESS RELEASE
The prizes of the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge launched by Banco Santander in May through Santander Universities were awarded today at an event chaired by Santander Group executive chairman Ana Botín. This was a global challenge for entrepreneurs around the world to come up with innovative solutions to help mitigate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.
Santander Group executive chairman, Ana Botín noted that “we can come out of this crisis stronger if we’re able to innovate and come up with new ways of tackling problems. Being a responsible bank means creating opportunities for the next generation of entrepreneurs and businesspeople to help their ideas become a reality That’s why we’ve set this challenge which highlights the commitment we’ve shown to education, employment and entrepreneurship over the past 20 years”
The challenge, organised through www.santanderx.com, included four categories: Re-Skill, to develop new professional skills; Re-Work, to help fight unemployment caused by the pandemic; Re-Invent, to adapt business models to the new paradigm; and Re-Launch, to open businesses back up and identify new market opportunities.
The 20 winning start-ups, chosen out of 2,251 projects for their projection, viability and scalability, will receive €20,000 each to carry out their projects, receive mentoring, hold roadshows to raise finance, and receive media coverage. The largest number of entries came from Brazil, Spain and Mexico, representing over 60% of the projects submitted.
The winners came from ten different countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, Peru, Spain, the UK and the US) and 40% of projects were from women, an excellent figure that illustrates the growing number of women entrepreneurs.
Delivering the event's closing speech, Javier Roglá, Global Head of Santander Universities, said “at Santander Universities, we support education and entrepreneurship to build a more inclusive and sustainable future. The winners have shown the decisive role that entrepreneurial spirit plays in providing solutions to new problems”.
The 20 winning projects were selected by a panel of experts from the entrepreneurial ecosystem and institutions such as Banco Santander, MIT Enterprise Forum and IDB Lab. Experts included Jonathan Nelson, CEO & Founder Hackers & Founders; Juliano Seabra, Division Chief Innovation and Creativity de IDB; Cristina Pombo, IDB Principal Advisor, Head of the Social Digital Cluster of the Social Sector; and Kathleen Kennedy Executive Director, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
The winning projects in the Re-Skill category were Ada ITW (Argentina), specialising in intensive online training for women in programming and soft skills to match them to new job opportunities; Arcux (Peru), a similar project but focused on the architecture and construction industry; BEDU (Mexico), for teaching digital and technological skills to low-income workers so they can find better job opportunities; Zapiens Technologies (Spain), for empowering working teams through learning and immediate access to corporate knowledge, helping them to acquire company-specific skills, and Filmpedia (Spain), an audiovisual content library organised by knowledge area and subject matter.
The winners in the Re-Work category were Connecting Visions (Spain), a consulting firm that seeks out available talent in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, generating visibility and connecting potential customers; ´Service Club Delivery´ (Spain), an employee recruitment solution for the accommodation and food services sector which as a result of the pandemic has become a recruitment service for key workers; Woke (Mexico), a platform with proprietary services for self-employed professionals, sole traders, entrepreneurs and SMEs; Sumá (Brazil), a platform for small-scale farmers facing problems accessing markets; and Taqe (Brazil), whose objective is to help young people with no work experience find jobs.
Winners in the Re-Invent category were WConnect (Brazil), an engineering firm that has created "Simples Receita", a system for connecting doctors, patients and pharmacies for online sales of prescription drugs; Motion Miners (Germany), a tool to prevent new infections using sensors and artificial intelligence; Flicq (USA), a real-time industrial equipment monitoring platform; Bewica (UK), a cybersecurity solution for organisations with intuitive and affordable protection, and Fofuuu (Brazil), a remote therapy monitoring tool for children with special needs.
Lastly, in the Re-Launch category, the winners were HumanITcare (Spain), a remote 24/7 health care services provider; Lexgo (Chile), automated legal advice services for companies; VU Security (Spain), a solution for identifying and validating users to help organisations carry out secure transactions; Komodore (Spain), a platform for building tourist accommodation process automation apps; and Mater Dynamics (Portugal), which offers secure, isolated and tracking environments for food transport.
Santander X Tomorrow Challenge is part of Banco Santander's overall response to the global crisis caused by COVID-19, which has mobilised over €100 million worldwide to tackle the virus and mitigate its impacts on the groups most affected, of which €30 million has been mobilised through Santander Universities. It has promoted research projects to develop vaccines, medicines and new diagnosis tests, provided assistance to disadvantaged students so they can continue with their studies, and worked on driving the university system's digital transition.
Moreover, to help improve the situation caused by the pandemic, more than 25,000 Santander scholarships have been arranged to help university students and graduates develop digital, language and soft skills as a way to improve their job prospects.
Banco Santander and its support of higher education
Banco Santander is firmly committed to progress and inclusive, sustainable growth, with a long-standing dedication to higher education that sets it apart from the world's other financial institutions. With more than €1,800 million invested in academic initiatives since 2002 through Santander Universities and over 430,000 university scholarships and grants awarded since 2005, it has been recognised as the company that invests the most in education worldwide (Varkey/UNESCO, Fortune 500 Report), with 1,000 agreements in place with universities and institutions in 22 countries.