On the 7th of September we were informed that Benojo had been selected to represent Australia in the United Nations World Summit Awards. This is quite an honour for us, and getting recognition at such a high level further validates our unique application of technology to address our world’s biggest challenges.
What are the World Summit Awards?
The World Summit Awards are a democratic global award system, which selects and promotes the world’s best digital innovations that have a positive impact on society. It has has been running for fifteen years, and fits within the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS). It contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agenda by recognising local digital initiatives with an impact on society, demonstrating the richness and diversity of innovative applications.
This video gives an overview of the awards:
There are eight categories
- Government & Citizen Engagement (this is the category we’re in)
- Health & Wellbeing
- Learning & Education
- Environment & Green Energy
- Culture & Tourism
- Smart Settlements & Urbanization
- Business & Commerce
- Inclusion & Empowerment
Entry is open to any company, organisation or individual from all UN and UNESCO member states.
Nine years since an Australian winner
There’s only been one previous Australian winner of the Government and Citizen Engagement category, which was Brisbane City Council and their use of Flash technology (it was back in 2005) to explain household sustainability to their residents. The last time an Aussie won a WSA award, in any category, was 2009.
With 180 UN member nations competition will be strong, but we hope to represent Australia on a global stage as we perform well across each of the judging criteria:
5 Technical Criteria
CONTENT - Quality and comprehensiveness
FUNCTIONALITY - Ease of use, user experience, appropriate interactivity
DESIGN - Navigation/orientation and visual appeal
TECHNOLOGY - State of the art in technology and quality of technical realisation
INNOVATION - Originality and newness to targeted users,bBusiness model society and market
2 Strategic Criteria
IMPACT - Local impact/impact on society
GLOBAL/UN VALUE - The impact on our world and the United Nations
September/October - The WSA online jury review each of the country-level winners and announce their shortlist.
November - The WSA Grand Jury assess the shortlist and announce the eight category winners.
Spring 2019 - The World Summit Awards are presented to the winners at the WSA Global Summit, held in Ghana.
Sure, as a purpose for profit organisation we’re proud that our hard work and dedication has been recognised at such a high level. That’s nice for us. But what’s it mean for our users, charities, partners, investors, supporters and corporate clients?
Firstly, it shows how far we’ve come with their support - each of them have helped us shape our products and services to be what they are now, and how we’ll evolve in the future. By challenging us, showing a view through their eyes and sharing their vision of a brighter future we’ve created something useful and powerful.
Secondly, we’ve already helped charities receive millions of dollars and tens of thousands of volunteer hours - without charging them a cent. Plus we’ve trained hundreds of nonprofit employees to create long-term partnerships with the right businesses. And because most of our enquiries come via word of mouth, it’s people like you who helped make this happen. Every chat around a barbecue where Benojo is mentioned, every workplace giving conversation that includes us, every social media post we’re tagged in, every testimonial, every happy customer, all this helps bring people to Benojo where they can follow their passions and make a better world on their own terms. Formal recognition through such awards helps us grow this collaborative network which funnels more goodness to where it needs to be.
Finally, it’s encouraging to know that a handful of passionate individuals can get together and devise an innovative solution to a pressing problem. What’s more, with tenacity, dedication and help from others, that idea can become a tangible entity - one that’s proven to be simultaneously both profitable and purposeful. From a collection of sticky notes in the pool room of a Sydney pub to a home-grown giving platform used by global companies, charities and thousands of individuals, we’ve come a long way - and the journey’s only just started.