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15 March, 2016 - 09:56 By Kate Sweeney

SimPrints guns for Clinton’s $1m social enterprise crown

simprints, fingerprint scanner

Two social enterprises involving Gates Cambridge Scholars contested the Bill Clinton-backed international Hult Prize regional rounds with SimPrints chosen to go through to the global finals later this year.

SimPrints was named overall winner of the London regionals while Favalley was one of five runners-up in its first competition

SimPrints was co-founded by Gates Cambridge Scholars Daniel Storisteanu, Toby Norman and Alexandra Grigore alongside Tristram Norman. Daniel is doing a PhD in medicine, Toby's PhD is in management studies and Alexandra's focuses on nanotechnology.

SimPrints is a fingerprint scanner which enables community health workers in developing countries to access patient records through the touch of a finger. It was recently awarded £250,000 from the UK Department for International Development for a project that will improve healthcare for over 22,000 expecting mothers and their newborns in Bangladesh slum neighbourhoods.

It has also earned seed funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Cambridge technology business ARM and won a major category in the Business Weekly Awards this time last year. SimPrints will now take part in the Hult Accelerator programme in July and August and will compete in the global finals in September for the $1 million prize.

The global final is held at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting hosted by former US President Bill Clinton. There they will pitch their ideas before a world-class audience.

Daniel Storisteanu of SimPrints said: “We had a fantastic time pitching alongside a lot of innovative projects. We're especially excited by the initiative started by Favalley, which we think has a lot of potential. “It's great seeing the Gates community becoming more and more active in this space, with more opportunities to work together and create greater impact.”

Favalley's CEO is Paulo Savaget, a Gates Cambridge Scholar doing a PhD in engineering. His focus is on assessing and unravelling alternatives capable of shifting technologies towards more sustainable pathways. His previous work experience is as a social entrepreneur, lecturer and independent consultant in Brazil. Gates Cambridge Scholar Stefano Martiniani is chief technology officer.

He is doing a PhD in scientific computing and is interested in fundamental computational research that has the potential to be translated into technological innovation. They work alongside fellow University of Cambridge PhD students Nikita Hari and Martin Geissdoerfer. Favalley is a social enterprise with the mission of turning slums and favelas around the world into the next Silicon Valleys. Stefano says: “We want to disrupt the evolution of ICT for the benefit of the most vulnerable youth in the planet and simultaneously address the growing demand for ICT jobs across industries.

“Our vision for 2022 is to bring half a million marginalised youth into direct employment, leading to 2.5 million more jobs, providing 15 million people with better and more stable income; improved connectivity and gender empowerment.”

The Hult Prize is dedicated to launching the world's next wave of social entrepreneurs. Its aim is “to encourage the world's brightest business minds to compete in teams to solve the planet's biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises.”

Around 60 teams competed in the regional finals and the top six teams presented in front of over 300 participants, judges and organisers at the Museum of London. The regional finalists were chosen from a pool of thousands of applicants.

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