UBS Social Innovators Program : Discover the 12 finalists!

We had over 1200 social enterprises apply to UBS Social Innovators 2016. We've spent the last month reviewing all the entries thoroughly and have reached our decisions. We are very pleased to announce the shortlisted candidates in each region and we look forward to welcoming them to the regional bootcamps.

The following successful candidates will attend a bootcamp on 20 and 21 October at the prestigious UBS conference centre in Wolfsberg, where experts from UBS and Ashoka will support them in bringing their social enterprise to the next level. At the end of the bootcamp, we will invite four from this list to our Regional Final in Zurich on 3 November 2016, where the UBS Social Innovator 2016 for Switzerland will be selected.  This winning candidate will win a grand fund of $40,000 and an opportunity to present at the UBS Global Philanthropy Forum in December.

For more information on the shortlisted applicants from our three global regions, head to the UBS Social Innovators website.

The UBS Social Innovators program was launched in July 2016 to select and support leading social entrepreneurs to scale through the expertise of the Ashoka and UBS networks.

ALVER FOUNDATION has created a range of protein rich foods with Chlorella Micro-algae and its production only requires water, sun and a little sugar. Micro-algae is a future source of protein supported by the FDA and European governments. This innovative micro-algae production is currently the most sustainable, untapped and unlimited resource available.

Chlorella and Spirulina are currently used as a protein supplement, but these existing competitive products are green and have astrong algae taste. Alvers uses an innovative tasteless and neutral coloured micro-algae, which can be added to all foods and beverages directly. The final product is natural, packed with healthy lipids and fibers, it has no allergens, it is non-GMO and gluten/lactose free.

APOPO notably adresses two of the current deadliest threats - landmines and tuberculosis (world deadliest infectious disease). Occuring mostly in developing countries, those threats are a systemic impediment, haltering development and implying expensive and often imported technologies.

Apopo’s solution is the development of an innovative scent detection technology, using African Pouched Rats, nicknamed Hero Rats and their extraordinary sense of smell, to safely sniff out both landmines and tuberculosis in affected countries, and thus givingback their land to local communities, and stopping the spread of a highly infectious disease.

CARBON DELTA is an environmental fintech that produces research focused on identifying the climate change resilience of publicly traded companies. Our models assess how much a company’s value is possibly affected by climate change.  We calculate the Climate Value at Risk for thousands of companies.

Until the end of 2016, Carbon Delta will be advising Swiss Re, the world's second-largest reinsurance company, on developing aproduct to calculate their climate risks.  With the tool that Carbon Delta has built, Swiss Re plans to monitor and then reduce the climate change footprint of its insurance activities.  With Carbon Delta’s help Swiss Re will be the first insurance company in the world to take steps at understanding the climate change impact related to insurance contracts.

CHOBA CHOBA is the first Swiss chocolate brand co-owned and co-managed by cocoa farmers. Choba Choba produces premium chocolate with a pure taste and allow consumers to have a real and transparent impact on those at the bottom of the chocolate business value chain.

Cocoa farming is a purely manual process, impossible to automate, and therefore requires human attention and hard physical labor. The cocoa farming families in the Alto Huayabamba region in Peru have been working with the chocolate producers for over 20 years, but as with the majority of the industry, they could barely see any return for their work. And that was true even when it came to chocolate labels in the current Fair-trade/Organic segment. Choba Choba started to help solve this problem and empower the farmers take control of their labour. Watch their promotional video here.

CROWDGUARD INTERNATIONAL promotes a community-based approach to lower sexual and gender based violence primarily in emergingcountries. CrowdGuard encourages a participatory and transdisciplinary approach which includes policy making and implementation, peer-based training, and connectivity through mobile phones.

Peer-based bystander education is empirically proven effective, and engaging student volunteers lowers overhead while outputting a growing number of change agents. Including local communities allows to build on existing trust relationships. Communities host training activities, and verify app users. In return CrowdGuard supports communities in implementation of anti-harassment guidelines. 

EUFORIA engages the unengaged, challenges the swiss education system and connects people who would usually not meet, across sectors and generations. It does so by providing dynamic and interactive events and trainings, which inspire and empower people to take action.

With the support of renowned international experts, Euforia developed highly engaging event-trainings that offer young people and executives unique learning opportunities. Euforia provides a non-hierarchical safe space to jointly succeed, fail and reflect on their learnings from „trying out“ changemaking. 

PROJEKT INTERIM, uses temporarily vacant property to make available residential andcommercial space for individuals and small businesses at extremely low prices.

The organization unlocks affordable space byusing vacancies (currently over 6 million square meters in Switzerland). Projekt Interim makes availble vacant space by creating temporary use projects within a very specific legal framework (lendto use). The highly efficient processes, special legal framework and large network of users make short term use of property economically profitable for the organization, reduce costs for owners and offer low cost space to users.


JUSTICE RAPID RESPONSE improves the quality of fact-finding and investigation of atrocities by providing the international community with readilyavailable, specially trained experts from every region, culture, and legal system.  These experts ensure that accountability forthese crimes is credible.

JRR recognizes that expertise, resources and mechanisms to address atrocity crimes exists in governments, institutions, civilsociety and the private sector. Instead of these acting independently and diffusely, JRR uniquely bridges all these elements of theinternational community, bringing them together and focusing these resources in a non-profit public-private partnership. 

LEDSAFARI has developed an award winning (Forbes 30under30, EIT (EU) CHANGE award) make-it-youself solar lamptraining. With this training, students/youth make their own solar lamp that they can use, and understand howit works. It provides energy access and STEM education in developing countries.

LEDSafari uses an online platfom which is available in different languages (Hindi, English and French, and more to come) and uses high quality videos and graphics to teach. These videos are based on nature analogy which makes it easy to grasp the concept. The platform is now expanding to other techologies (solar mobile charger,water purifier).

MOSAN is an ecological sanitation solution for emergencies. Poor sanitation infrastructure leads to environmental contamination,disease spreading and social issues. MoSan offers an ecological service and an aspirational mobile dry-toilet to provide peoplewith dignity, safety and hygiene.Mosan offers rapid-deployable aspirational toilets for slums and refugee camps and offers system design to aid organizations,using the human-centered Design Thinking approach. Human excreta are considered a valuable resource that can be recycled and reused.

A paradigm shift in emergency sanitation is ongoing. MoSan is ready to provide user-friendly solutions. All the products are developed through collaborative design methods with users and stakeholders and can be adjusted to cultural needs. So far, human excreta and its nutrients are not recycled in emergencies. Leading aid organizations like GIZ, OXFAM and WSUP have purchased Mosan toilets and in close collaboration successfully piloted thesystem in different cultural contexts like Bangladesh, Kenya and South Sudan. Watch the presentation video here.

REWINNER’s mission is to enable the circular economy through reuse of building materials and products. By being present in the planning phase of a renovation project and listing available goods in advance up to 50% more materials can be reused.

Rewinner’s innovation is a process optimization, through planning reuse in advance and finding customers for materials and products before renovation is started. Impact reporting is also an innovation which it provide to project partners/building owners which enables them to demonstrate to their stakeholders their engagement in enabling circular economy and sustainable construction.

VELAFRICA aims at improving livelihoods through access to bicycles in Africa. To reach this goal it collects disused bicycles in Switzerland, refurbish them in social institutions and export them to Africa.  

Combining integrational work in Switzerland and supporting socio-economic development with bicycles in Sub Saharan Africa is a unique and unseen setting that creates impact on every step of the value chain. Bicycles serve as a crucial means to an end as bikes a) are recycled and reused b) serve as a tool for a meaningful re-integration of unemployed and disabled people in Switzerland, c) enable the creation of local social bicycle hubs, which d) enable vocational skills trainingfor youth in SSA and e) offer ultimately job and income opportunities in markets with severely limited education andemployment options. Last but not least, bicycles are an impactful, affordable and sustainable mode of transport for its usersto change livelihoods substantially.