An initiative recognizes young companies committed to the UN’s sustainability goals. A Duisburg startup scores points with an interactive ball for inclusion.
A small ball with a big impact
The Ichó ball of the homonymous startup is charged with sensor technology, reacts with light and sound to touch and movement. And is intended to help patients with dementia. “The ball activates and stimulates, in a very subtle way and Way, “says Steffen Preuß. With his two co-founders, he brings the completely self-developed ball including applications as a therapy device straight from the prototype in the first small series. The suggestion came from the family circle. The grandparents of the founders fell ill with dementia. “We wanted to go beyond what you normally do,” says Preuß.
Ichó Systems has now been honored for its efforts. The Duisburg based startup has been awarded the first prize of the Global Goals Impact Fund. Which is worth 20,000 euros. This non-profit Social Impact Initiative and Deutsche Bank competition honored young companies committed to the United Nations sustainability goals. This year, the focus was on education, inclusion and the strengthening of neighborhoods.
Jump start for good ideas
Behind Ichó, the institute for inclusive education and the network Mein Herz lacht for parents of children with disabilities were awarded with cash prizes. “Startups that have social impact need wind in the back, professional support, recognition and attention,” said Eckart von Hirschhausen, who led as a guest of honor by the award ceremony.
However, here it is always a hiccup for so-called social startups. There is no exact definition, but young companies usually use agile development methods to bring their idea or product into society with added value. The scaling is desired, the lucrative exit not which ensures that often lacks the growth capital.
This year’s winner does not feel these problems so intensely. In an incubator, Ichó received startup assistance. Among other things, the KfW Foundation and the Haniel Group supported the startup there. Last December, a first capital increase was concluded with Business Angels. In addition, there is quite a lot of interest in the wealth management of wealthy families. “Our corporate purpose is perceived as meaningful that serves more as a door opener,” says Icho co-founder Preuß.
Towards the end of the year, the startup wants to deliver the first small series of balls to nursing homes. The sensors should also provide an insight into the change in the motor skills of patients. “We can measure reaction times, even if someone can no longer communicate,” says Preuß. In addition, the Duisburg also test the use of the colorful flashing ball in inclusive schools.