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Startup platform awarded €50,000 by European Commission

Peer to peer learning platform awarded €50,000 by European Commission

Digital visionary SAGA selected as a winner in European Social Innovation Competition ‘Equality Rebooted’ addressing inequality in Europe.

 SAGA has been announced as one of three winners in the 2017 European Social Innovation Competition. Selected from a total of nearly 800 entries from more than 40 countries, the project was awarded a €50,000 prize at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 26 October.

In response to digitisation’s transformative effect on society and the labour market, this year’s Competition aims to ‘reboot’ equality and ensure technology is used to make everyone in Europe benefit from the opportunities created by technological change.

SAGA, the winning project from the Netherlands, is a peer-to-peer learning network. In a fast-changing labour market, SAGA helps learners get a flexible education and learn in-demand skills from industry experts. Founded to provide a public infrastructure for education in the digital age, SAGA enables educators to invest their expertise in learners by using contracts signed to a blockchain to track the value of exchanged knowledge.

Matthew Neary of SAGA said: “Saga is our attempt to pioneer the educational infrastructure of the future. We’re creating a peer to peer learning network where anyone can be an educator, and where learners can raise investment from the community to pay for their learning. Digital profiles and badges signed to the blockchain allow us to track the real value of learning experiences as measured by the community itself. Winning the Competition is an honour for us. The €50,000 allows us to build upon our prototype and develop and reach larger communities of experts and learners.”

Through the platform, individual educators can issue badges for lessons that their learners complete. What’s more, educators have a dynamic reputation that fluctuates in real time based on the feedback and successes of their learners. Ultimately, once a successful network is up and running, the project is designed to be governed and operated by its users.

Commissioner Elzbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission said: “Digitisation and automation are rapidly changing the way we live and work. There is a growing gap between those who are equipped to take advantage of this transformation and those who are lagging behind. To help close this gap, this year’s edition of the European Social Innovation Competition looked for new ideas for a truly inclusive economy and society. The three winning projects have the potential to make a real difference.”

As part of the Competition this year, the SAGA team attended a mentoring academy in Madrid in July where they worked with experts in social innovation to refine their idea and develop their business plan before pitching to the jury of social innovators and tech experts at the awards ceremony in Brussels.

The other Equality Rebooted winners were UK-based open source home building platform Buildx and Slovenian project Feelif, a multimedia touch screen innovation for blind and visually impaired users.

Three winners selected out of 10 finalists and the 2016 Impact Prize winner were each awarded a prize of €50,000 at the Awards Ceremony on 26 October 2017 in Brussels.

Organised since 2012 in memory of the Portuguese politician and social innovator Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition will help the most innovative ideas to become real, sustainable and transformative projects.

If you work at the forefront of technological innovation, and think you could teach others what you know, then contact Saga co-founder Eric Boby and become an educator of the future: e.boby@saga.one

Follow the competition on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov #diogochallenge