The 'Social Entrepreneur' ceremony awards five outstanding initiatives developed during the pandemic in 2021

Philanthropic Funds vs. Covid-19, {Parças} Developers School, Telemedicine SAS Brazil, Mother and Much More and NoonApp - Inclusion Digital + Income are the winners of the award hosted by Folha and Schwab Foundation

Cristiano Pombo Gabriela Caseff
São Paulo

The 2021 Social Entrepreneur Award ceremony acknowledged last Tuesday (30) five outstanding initiatives in the struggle against the health crisis in the country.

The second edition of the contest in response to Covid-19 had four winners nominated by the jury and one chosen by popular vote among 12 finalists on the Folha website: Philanthropic Funds vs. Covid-19, {Parças} Developers School, Telemedicine SAS Brazil, Mother and Much More and NoonApp - Inclusion Digital + Income the contest winners.

galeria com empreendedores sociais
Finalists of the 2021 Social Entrepreneur Award - Folhapress

Leonardo Letelier, 48, is the winner in the Food and Health Emergency category. The founder of Sitawi - Finanças do Bem —and a pioneer in the development of financial solutions for social impact and fostering of third sector entities— led the Philanthropic Funds vs. Covid-19.

In total, 14 funds were made possible with the help of partners, such as the BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development), to mobilize R$ 175 million in favor of professionals in the front line of health and in the fight against coronavirus.

In the Social and Productive Inclusion category, Alan Almeida, 29, and Carla Cristina, 37, are the winners. They are in charge of {Parças} Developers School, a social business that offers programming courses —blockchain, machine learning, games and applications development— in "linguagem da quebrada" (accessible language) to graduates of Fundação Casa and the Women's Prison of Carandiru, among others in the Brazilian prison system, the third-largest in the world.

During the pandemic, the startup selected a thousand young people for distance training, with technical and personal monitoring to direct them to the IT market, currently in need of a specialized labor force, with competitive salaries.

In Innovation for the Post-Pandemic Recovery, physician Adriana Mallet, 40, has been awarded for the Telemedicine SAS Brazil initiative. Aiming to become the "Doctor of WhatsApp" and make access to healthcare more democratic, she took medical care to vulnerable populations in 320 cities.

Over 40,000 patients benefited from the project, which also installed self-sterilizing booths for remote assistance in the communities, with a disinfection system, devices to measure vital signals, electronic medical records, and a prescription printer.

In the Community-based Solutions category, the winner is Stella Maris Monteiro, 36, who led the Mother and Much More project in Morro dos Macacos, in Rio de Janeiro.

With the "Quadrilátero do Apoio" ("Support Quadrangle") methodology, based on therapy, social assistance, education, and social integration, she helped women, who are heads of households, by offering mentorships and courses anchored to a network of public social assistance facilities.

Tia Stellinha, as the social entrepreneur is known, is a mother of five children and has impacted the lives of 750 women. There is already a plan to take the methodology to another 6,000 female heads of household, through partnerships with NGOs and the Gerando Falcões network.

In the Reader's Choice poll, category that includes the popular vote, the winners are Suzana, 51, and Reinaldo Pamponet, 49, who created the NoonApp – Inclusion Digital + Income, a collaborative digital platform, which received 28% of the nearly 160,000 votes.

On the NoonApp, which already has 400,000 users, each collaboration (challenge) proposed in the application encourages ideas and the solution of socio-environmental problems and remunerates participants with Girassol (Sunflower), its own currency equivalent to R$1, which generates collective intelligence and income.

A total of 317 projects were registered for this second edition of the award hosted by Folha, with a focus on fighting the pandemic, in partnership with the Schwab Foundation.

It was to the swaying sounds of famous Brazilian songs that the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Response to Covid-19 presented its finalists and winners on Tuesday night (30).

Broadcasted on TV Folha, artists Livia La Gatto and Renata Maciel sang several parodies, from Timbalada to Gilberto Gil, to tell the story of the 12 finalists at the awards.

Hosts Adriana Couto and Leo Madeira conducted the virtual ceremony in the Folha auditorium, with a night view of São Paulo in the background, which can be contemplated from the 9th floor of the newspaper's building.

The award ceremony featured mini-documentaries recorded with the finalists, showing the impact of their actions. It also brought testimonies from sponsors of causes about the post-pandemic world — artists such as Claudia Raia, Ingrid Guimarães, Ivete Sangalo, Giovanna Lancelotti and Xuxa Meneghel.

"After seeing so many initiatives that seemed like a miracle, it's impossible not to be optimistic," said Regina Casé, in a video, right at the opening of the broadcast.

As soon as they were announced, the winners were called by the masters of ceremonies to a live entry, via videoconference, to celebrate and give thanks.

"You worked in a challenging, and occasionally adverse environment, you persisted despite frustrations and collectively transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Brazil and around the world," said Hilde Schwab, president of the Schwab Foundation, co-host of the award, to congratulate the Brazilians elected Social Entrepreneurs of the Year, in a video message.

"If we are to make our society more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable, we need to serve our communities. And this is a chapter that you, as social entrepreneurs, are writing. This is my hope for a post-Covid-19 world," he stated.

For Sérgio Dávila, editorial director at Folha, the second edition of the 'Social Entrepreneur Award in Response to Covid-19' this year is special for two reasons.

"The first is that we celebrate Folha's 100th anniversary in 2021. The second is that this year we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Folha Network of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs. Important milestones in a journey to acknowledge and give visibility to those who seek to solve Brazilian problems."

According to Dávila, the group of 2021 finalists shows strength and commitment towards responding to the challenges that the sanitary crisis has brought to the country, with the increase in inequality and the tragic mark of more than 600 thousand deaths in a year and a half of pandemic.

"NGOs, movements, and businesses with a social impact demonstrate that organized civil society can do a lot and contribute with governments and companies in building a fairer country", he says.

The Social Entrepreneur Award is sponsored by Gerdau, Ambev, Sesi/Senai, Coca-Cola, and Vedacit and is a strategic partnership with Ashoka, ESPM, Dom Cabral Foundation, Pacto Global, and UOL.

Translated by Cassy Dias