Education, accessibility and health initiatives win the highest award for social entrepreneurship in Brazil

Claudio Sassaki and Eduardo Bontempo, from São Paulo, won the 10th Social Entrepreneur Award with the adaptive education platform Geekie. The Social Entrepreneur of the Future was with Ronaldo Tenório, Carlos Wanderlan and Thadeu Luz, from Alagoas, creators of Hand Talk, a simultaneous translation application from Portuguese to Libras. In the Reader's Choice, he won the Pró-Rim, from doctor Hercilio da Luz Filho, from Santa Catarina.

Architect Claudio Sassaki, 40, and manager Eduardo Bontempo, 30, founders of Geekie, are the big winners of the 10th anniversary edition of the Social Entrepreneur Award. They developed a pioneering platform, with customized solutions, to improve the learning of basic education students, both in public and private schools in the country. Founded three years ago, Geekie is already in 90% of Brazilian municipalities, reaching 17 thousand schools. In 2013, 80% of its users were from public education.

During the award ceremony, held this Tuesday (2/12), Bontempo commented that he did not expect to win, especially due to the quality of the projects that competed for the award. “We had strong competitors and it was a very nice surprise when they called our name. This trophy is a recognition of all the hard work and dedication of the last three years.” He reinforced that the process of participating in the Social Entrepreneur served as a moment of self-reflection on the work they develop. For Claudio Sassaki, the challenge now is to reach more and more people, especially those who need it most. “This is an incentive for us to continue acting towards our objective, which is to provide quality education for all”, he highlighted.

Advertiser Ronaldo Tenório, 28, developer Carlos Wanderlan, 32, and architect Thadeu Luz, 31, all from Maceió (AL), won the 6th edition of the Folha Empreendedor Social de Futuro Award with the free application Hand Talk, which translates into real-time small texts or audio messages, in Portuguese, for the Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). Launched in July 2013, it has already been elected by the United Nations (UN) as the best social inclusion app in the world. The software is free for the user and can be used on cell phones, tablets, computers and even information totems. Today, it has more than 180 thousand downloads, in all Brazilian states, and around 10 million translations.

When thanking the recognition, Carlos Wanderlan highlighted the need for more accessible solutions for the Brazilian population. “Accessibility needs to be put into practice, not just a theory. Today, we are doing a small part to make this happen and we want the public power to embrace this cause once and for all.” Thadeu Luz recalled that there are millions of people with some type of hearing impairment in Brazil and reinforced: “With this victory, we want to serve as an example to stimulate social entrepreneurship and expand its impact”.

In the “Reader's Choice” category, the doctor Hercilio da Luz Filho, 52, won. He founded and presides over the largest philanthropic entity in the area of nephrology in Brazil, Fundação Pró-Rim. The entity received 47% from the almost 65 thousand votes of the internet users who participated. Hercilio thanked the entire network of contacts linked to the Foundation for mobilizing. “Being among the finalists was already a great achievement and a source of great pride for Pró-Rim, because all of our 650 employees have the mission of saving lives. For sure, from now on, we will develop even more in order to fulfill our biggest dream, that of building our own hospital to perform kidney transplants for our patients there.” Fundação Pró-Rim is maintained with resources from donors and the provision of services to the SUS.

the award

The awarding of the prizes took place at a ceremony for guests at the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), in the city of São Paulo. For the first time in 10 years, Hilde Schwab, mentor of the Schwab Foundation, organizer of the Social Entrepreneur in dozens of countries was present. In her speech, Hilde said she was honored and happy to participate in such an important moment of celebration and recognition of Brazilian initiatives. “The role of these leaders is the way to transform the world. And, without a doubt, social entrepreneurs represent one of the ways to improve society, making it more inclusive and prosperous”, he observed. The award was broadcast live on the Folha de S.Paulo website and UOL, with accessibility for the hearing and visually impaired.

The contest became known around the world for the high rigor of the selection. Its proposal is to value socio-environmental leaders who have been working for at least three years, in an innovative, sustainable way and with a positive impact on society and public policies. In Brazil, Empreendedor Social has an exclusive partnership with Folha de S.Paulo. Maria Cristina Frias, journalist and columnist for Folha, took the stage to greet those present and highlight the details of this work. “In these ten years, we have had more than 2,000 candidates, and it is very gratifying to see how the winners develop over the years”. She cited the example of the CIES Project, by doctor Roberto Kikawa, winner of the 2010 edition, when she attended to 500 patients a month. Today, there are 84 thousand calls per month.


The candidates with Claudio Sassaki and Eduardo Bontempo were: Hercilio da Luz Filho, from Fundação Pró-Rim and Paulo Moutinho, 53, biologist and co-founder of Ipam (Amazon Environmental Research Institute), a non-profit scientific organization operating in the Legal Amazon, which engages scientists and traditional populations in promoting sustainable development through participatory research.

In the Social Entrepreneur of the Future, which follows the same evaluation standards, with the purpose of recognizing and promoting social leaders in activity for less time (at least one year and at most three years), Lorrana Scarpioni, 24, lawyer and public relations, founder of Bliive — a social network that works in a collaborative system that uses time as a bargaining chip — and the Atados group, André Cervi, 25, Bruno Tataren, 24, Daniel Assunção, 24 , João Paulo Padula, 24, and Luís Henrique Madaleno, 25. Atados is a social network created in the capital of São Paulo, which connects people who want to volunteer in a cause and act for the common good.

Finalists and winners will receive legal advice and scholarships for courses, congresses, seminars and MBAs in national and international institutions. The Social Entrepreneur Award winners will be presented in January 2015 to the Schwab Foundation Board for potential integration into its global social entrepreneurship network. This inclusion provides invitations to regional meetings of the World Economic Forum, a possible indication for them to integrate and contribute to the Forum's Global Agenda Councils and legitimacy for them to be selected as members of the Schwab Foundation's delegation of Social Entrepreneurs.

In Entrepreneur of the Future, the finalists who meet the criteria established by the organization will be nominated for the Young Global Leaders Forum and those who are up to 30 years old will be nominated for the Global Shapers community, of the organization of the same name of the World Economic Forum.

The Reader's Choice provided Pró-Rim with a targeted communication plan. The 13 finalists of both awards join the Folha Network of Socio-Environmental Entrepreneurs, a select group of highly innovative social leaders who interact and exchange ideas, with the support and dissemination of Folha de S.Paulo.


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