Social Innovation for Health
On May 4th we will be celebrating the final of our Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards
Social entrepreneurs use innovation and creativity to try to solve the problems that really matter to people. Aware of the fundamental role that this type of entrepreneurship initiative plays in a complex and ever-changing world, in 2018 we created the Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation, which recognize and promote those innovation initiatives that stand out for their social commitment and technological focus.
On May 4 we will be celebrating the final of the fifth edition of these Awards. Three projects will be selected, one from each of the categories: Prevention and Mobility, Silver Economy, and Health Improvement and Digital Technology (e-Health).
The nine finalists will join Red Innova, a community of social innovators in which the participants from all the editions of the awards are involved, and through which we offer support to escalate the social impact of their initiatives, even after the contest itself has finished.
To mark World Health Day, we talked to representatives from 5 of the projects that participated in previous editions of our contest and that today are part of our ecosystem of social entrepreneurs to find out, once they had received our award, how they have fared and what progress they have achieved with their initiatives aimed at promoting health in the world.
The winner of the first edition in 2018, MJN-Neuro is a veteran of the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards and a founding member of the Red Innova network. Its product, mjn-SERAS, is a device that assesses the risk of suffering an epileptic seizure thanks to a small earpiece connected to an app via Bluetooth. The headset can detect when there is a high risk of an epileptic seizure and send a visual and audible warning to the user 1 to 3 minutes before the seizure occurs. This gives the user time to prepare and avoid a fall, for example, as a result of the seizure. In the four years since winning the Fundación MAPFRE award, MJN-Neuro has improved its system, obtained certifications and, perhaps most importantly, brought the product to market. The mjn-SERAS headset is now CE marked as a medical device and is available in Spain. Looking ahead to the coming months, the company is preparing a marketing strategy in other parts of Europe, mainly the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy. Next, they want to make the leap to the United States, where they are already working on all the regulatory aspects with the FDA. The company, which currently employs 14 people, expects to reach 90 employees by 2025.
NaviLens won the 2019 edition in the e-Health category with asmart universal digital signage solution for blind and low-vision people. Its system allows users to orient themselves and obtain information in unfamiliar environments, without the help of third parties or the need for any technological devices beyond their own cell phones. Three years after winning the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Award, NaviLens has taken a significant leap forward, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Thanks to major technological improvements and the incorporation of new features, the company has expanded throughout Europe, as well as to the United States, Canada and part of Asia. With these technological developments and process improvements, NaviLens has obtained several quality seals and certifications such as ISO 27001 or the EIBT (Innovative Technology-based Company) seal. The company is now exploring the possibility of undertaking ambitious international projects, such as, for example, the inclusion of its QR code in all Kellogg’s products at the European level.
MiWEndo Solutions (Spain)
This project was the semifinalist of the 3rd edition of our awards in 2020. Their work focuses on a medical device that integrates microwave technology with colonoscopy to improve prevention, diagnosis, and awareness of colorectal cancer. MiWEndo’s device automates polyp detection by sounding an alarm when a polyp is detected, it extends the field of view to 360 degrees, and it provides quantitative tissue classification without altering the current clinical practice. Red Innova and the community created around it have been key to the company’s development by providing its team with training in a wide range of areas, all of which are important for impact entrepreneurship. Today, MiWEndo’s project is one step closer to achieving its major objective: to validate the device for the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer in patients. Clinical trials will begin before the summer of 2022 with 15 patients.
The Brazilian company Fleximedical has been innovating in the field of health care since 2005 thanks to its containers, vans and trailers. Through these customized mobile units and hospital architecture projects, Fleximedical supports major public health programs in South America’s largest city: São Paulo. A finalist of the 4th edition of the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards in 2021, this recognition has helped the company materialize its internationalization plans; first within Latin America and, in the future, to the rest of the world. Last year, they launched a Mobile Telemedicine Stand that will be presented later this year at a startup event in Miami (USA). In addition, the company is working on a new health product for the elderly.
Medical Innovation & Technology (Peru)
Innovating in e-Health solutions that help bring healthcare facilities closer to people. Such is the purpose of another of the finalists in the 4th edition of the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards: the Peruvian company Medical Innovation & Technology. Through the development of different telehealth solutions, the company aims to be a strategic ally for national and regional governments, hospitals and companies with Corporate Social Responsibility programs and help them use their resources more efficiently, carry out preventive diagnoses and optimize their processes. Today, after being a finalist in our awards, the company has gained efficiency and has learned to spread its message to the outside world in a clearer way in order to better connect with customers, partners and other key players in our ecosystem. Regarding its future plans, the company is exploring international expansion and looking for new rounds of capital so that it can continue making a positive impact on the most vulnerable populations.
Social innovators aim to bring health closer to people by using all the technology at their disposal to achieve this. At Fundación MAPFRE we support their initiatives so that, through common effort, health can become a right for all citizens of this world.