Emerging companies promote social inclusion with technology in Brazil

Silvia Castro Betancourt

January 21, 2018

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In the midst of the crisis and social unrest in Brazil, emerging companies awarded by the technological giant Google launch strategies for citizen participation with various tools, such as an application to suggest bills or a method to donate to merchants the returns of the stores.

Both initiatives won the second edition of the ‘Social Impact Challenge’, held in 2016 by Google Brazil to support non-profit organizations that use technology to generate social impact, where each project received 1.5 million reais (about 476,795 dollars).

One of them, Arredondar, is an emerging philanthropic giving company that allows consumers to round up payments in physical stores and donate the change to NGOs.

The project, which emerged as a social movement, has an agreement with more than 530 stores and, since the Social Impact Challenge, has already raised more than 300,000 reais (~$95,359) for philanthropic entities.

“Arrendondar selects and registers oenegés of diverse causes, among them health, education, citizenship and diversity, with the difference of transparency in the provision of online accounts to the consumer who contributed,” the operations director told Efe of the emerging company, María Berer.

The project came from a group of people who were looking for different ways to raise money for philanthropic purposes six years ago and without being still self-sufficient, it was driven by the Google prize.

Donations are published in real time on the project website, which in total already has seven million donors and has raised a total of 1.1 million reais (~$349,650) in small contributions for forty projects, with approximately 70,000 impacted people.

The perspective until the end of the year is to expand the portfolio of beneficiary organizations to be included in new means of payment, in addition to being present more market networks that offer visibility to this type of action.

The model of the São Paulo company is designed for retail, where customers freely decide whether or not they want to donate and, therefore, the focus is to train those who serve so that they are the ones who promote this type of donation.

“Companies contribute to transform how people see the act of donating in Brazil, because the NGOs are not in everyone’s daily lives and that part of their work is to show an invisible Brazil being addressed now in a buying relationship and donation,” he added.

With the same perspective of social impact through technology, the Rio de Janeiro-based company ITS Rio launched in March the ‘Mudamos,’ a mobile application for the signing of bills of popular initiative, which had more than 500,000 downloads in less than two months without any propaganda.

“We live a deep crisis of confidence and one of the ways to solve is using technology to spread democracy,” ITS Rio director Ronaldo Lemos told Efe.

The entrepreneur argued: “We were number one in the ‘online’ application stores and we were surprised because this demonstrates the interest in civic participation, the result was the sending of 7,000 bills for Congress.”

Users can also suggest bills for the platform created in a scenario in which this type of popular initiatives was not available for an effective procedure in the Legislative since the difficulty of verifying paper signatures was present.

“The application is free and voluntary, the key point is that there is a sense of detachment from the society of its representatives, so any way to have their voices heard or have participated in decisions makes people have a desire to participate,” he said.

For Lemos, “technology is a way to restore trust with our representatives.”

For the winners, Google announced on Monday that it will make a new investment of one million reais (about $317,863), to support the development of social inclusion actions through digital media.

The above article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English. Click here to read the original article.

 

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.