Growing and developing businesses with innovative technological applications is one thing, but what about developing and improving society?
In theory, capitalism should create the kind of wealth that gets distributed to everyone, but this isn’t how it works in practice, because most of the wealth remains with the elite and doesn’t filter down to all levels of society.
There are a lot of skeptics who believe that tech can’t fix everything, and of course, there are often infrastructural challenges that need to be addressed before any kind of tech can be beneficial in certain societies. But in the meantime, what if tech can still improve the lives of people all over the world?
To demonstrate how tech development can be used for social good, here is just a brief summary of two social enterprise applications that the SovTech team is involved with, with input from SovTech’s Commercial Director, Chase le Roux:
1. Decentralised Technologies for Social Upliftment: Project UBU
We’ve talked about the benefits of Project UBU in previous articles about blockchain payment efficiency and blockchain use cases, but in this piece, we’ll expand on why it is so valuable from a social enterprise standpoint.
As mentioned above, the capitalist system doesn’t reward everyone equally, but with a decentralised system that works on the principles of equality and learning how to sustain wealth, this kind of application can create lasting change in the way people earn and manage their money.
As Le Roux says:
“There are three main contributors explaining why traditional centralised initiatives have not worked (e.g. in the grant system in South Africa), these are namely corruption, wasted spending and funds not reaching the intended target.
As UBU has been built on a decentralised blockchain network, UBU is transparent, meaning all people have access to the ecosystem, which allows us all to identify trapped assets such as food via blockchain technology. (For example, food wastage is a massive issue, and now vendors and citizens have access to these trapped assets).”
Currently there are around seventy vendors on the UBU vendor list. This means that the 100/day free UBUs allow people like you and me to make purchases for goods and services, for free. What’s even better is that there is no tax on this income. Eventually, the idea is to alleviate stress on the poorer communities by allowing them to exchange their UBUs at stores for food and clothing.”
2. Improving Recycling Initiatives: BioExtech
The informal recycling economy in South Africa is massive, and anyone who has driven down a street in the country will be familiar with informal waste collectors who drag stacks of cardboard boxes on trolleys, which they take to recycling depots to exchange for cash (based on weight).
While some of these informal recyclers might be able to earn a living off what they can bring to the recycling depot, what if there was a way to maximise this valuable activity?
To optimise on the under-utilised and visible space that these recycling trolleys offer, SovTech has developed a payment system that creates a more secure way for informal trash collectors, or “Urban Miners,” to earn money.
According to Le Roux:
“There are two ways in which BioExtech makes a difference.
First of all, most low income residential areas face challenges with waste management, a real problem faced around the world where waste management falls lower on a list of priorities in comparison to keeping a roof over heads or putting food on the table.
Secondly, waste suppliers to recycling plants are under constant threat of robbery straight after they deposit their goods. For example, informal cardboard collectors in South Africa push trolleys around the cities to collect trash. They then deposit this trash at recycling plants and get rewarded in cash on delivery of the goods. Thieves are knowingly aware of this, which makes informal collectors an easy target.
The solution to these two problems is a system like the one implemented by BioExTech. The platform allows for instant payment to all banks and ATMs using biometrics. This means the informal collector is rewarded safely and securely while at the same time remunerating the work done for people cleaning up the community. All in all this creates an upward spiral to alleviate poverty and clean up the environment.”
How Can Everyone Use Tech for the Greater Good?
The world’s population is increasing exponentially, and so there is more and more of a need to create services like Project UBU and BioExtech that can benefit our global community.
While the focus of many social development initiatives is to relieve abject poverty and improve basic services, developing tech for the greater good can also be about making changes on an incremental level, which can then be built upon, and serve as a foundation for scaleable change.
If you’re interested in building a social enterprise application, perhaps as part of your business’ Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, get in touch with us to find out more.