‘Tech For Good’. We have heard these three words being used several times on social media and in the press as well. These are the three words that have driven me to start my own consulting firm, FemTech Partners. It is headquartered in Singapore, covering the SEA region. The firm specialises in FinTech and Financial Inclusion and, promotes women in Fintech and mentors young female talent. Coming from a developing country, I have always wanted to use tech as a force of good and FemTech Partners has allowed me to do so.
Our main work includes working with financial regulators in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1 & 5- poverty alleviation and gender equality. I have worked with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), the world's leading development charity organization, focused on Financial Inclusion using Fintech solutions such as mobile money, e-KYC, etc. Experiencing first-hand through field visits in remote areas of Bangladesh to meet women and youth to understand the current landscape and depth of capital problem, and to see how technology can benefit them was remarkable. We recently partnered with PYXERA Global and Blackrock Singapore, where we implement BlackRock's Social Impact Program to help the Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW's) in Singapore.
This is just the beginning and I am looking forward to using Tech For Good in other opportunities as well. Apart from FemTech Partners, many other companies are working on using Tech For Good as well. With many collectively working together to use Tech For Good, let’s take a look at how a country has benefited from this movement.
The United Kingdom (UK)
While methods to contain the virus keep individuals apart, they bring communities together in unique and remarkable ways in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Many Tech for Good entrepreneurs are working to solve some of the UK's most serious problems. The Tech for Good movement may be advanced across the United Kingdom, especially as COVID-19 boosts uptake of digital services.
Excellent institutions, access to talent, booming tech activity, an active investor community, and a favourable regulatory environment are just a few of the structural advantages that the United Kingdom already has to help the Tech For Good movement. It's no surprise that there are now over 490 Tech for Good companies in the UK, with a combined turnover of over £732 million and a valuation of over £2.3 billion in 2018. Over the previous six years, UK tech companies associated with UN Sustainable Development Goals have raised £2.2 billion, the most in Europe.
Many infrastructure players are also supporting the Tech for Good agenda, including organizations that shine a light on UK Tech For Good start-ups (such as techforgood.global, the Tech For Good Summit, and the Tech for Good awards); non-profit funders (such as Comic Relief's Tech for Good program and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation); incubators (such as Microsoft's AI for Good, Nesta, and the Social Tech Trust); and impact investors such as Bethnal Green Ventures, which is regarded as one of Europe's top impact investors. Many of these groups serve various purposes; Bethnal Green Ventures, for example, hosts the Tech for Good Meetup in London.
Across the United Kingdom, a vast number of Tech for Good entrepreneurs and organizations are using technology to develop and gauge solutions to societal problems. In 2019’s MGI Tech for Good discussion paper, six key well-being factors were identified where Tech for Good can and does play a constructive role in promoting social change around the world. They are job security, material living standards, health and longevity, education, environmental sustainability and equal opportunities.
If we are to look at a developing country, the pandemic has sparked a frenzy of activity in India's Tech for Good ecosystem around cost-effective technologies. A report published this year by Nasscom Foundation in partnership with CGI, which has inputs from 548 organisations, comprising 119 established companies, 124 social enterprises/startups, and 305 NGOs, has found that over 90% of those who responded said they were producing or planning to develop Technology for Social Good.
A country with a more recent implementation would be Singapore. Deep Tech for Good is a new initiative launched by SGInnovate in 2020 that aims to accelerate the development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other frontier technologies like Autonomous Systems, BioTech, Food Technologies, MedTech, and Quantum Technologies to improve the human condition and drive sustainable development across various markets.
The project, in collaboration with internationally renowned organizations, intends to bring together global leaders from the public and commercial sectors who are committed to using science and technology for social and economic good. The Deep Tech for Good initiative will also assist in establishing and scaling Deep Tech solutions, as well as catalyse collaborations between corporations, entrepreneurs, and governments, by facilitating the sharing of knowledge and success stories about how research-based innovations have improved people's lives.
Among the strategic partners are: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), XPRIZE Foundation, and the NTU Institute for Science and Technology for Humanity (NISTH).
The Deep Tech for Good initiative also includes the following allied activities: Deep Tech for Society Insights Paper, Deep Tech Talent Programmes, Innovation Challenges and Virtual Events.
In conclusion, we have seen how a company could be inspired by the Tech For Good movement and how the efforts of many could benefit an entire country. Some countries are just starting their journey with Tech For Good. However, I believe that we can safely say that the Tech For Good movement has made a huge impact around the world and are not mere words or trends.
Do look out for our upcoming book on Super Apps where topics such as technology used for financial inclusion and how women are combating the side-effects of COVID-19 using technology will be discussed! I hope that we can inspire others to use Tech For Good like we are as well!