Training Platform for Homeless Community Wins Best UK Tech Start-up

beam homeless platform

A London-based crowdfunding platform helping people from the homeless community has been named best UK tech start-up and national winner of Super Connect for Good 

Beam, the world’s first platform to crowdfund employment training for homeless people, has been crowned the national winner of Super Connect for Good, a competition run by the recruitment experts Hays and global super connectors Empact Ventures.

Super Connect for Good recognised Beam as the best UK tech start-up for its commitment to positive social change and enhancing people’s lives through technology, naming them as the best emerging tech start-up chosen from eight regional winners across the UK and Ireland.

Founder Alex Stephany launched the platform in 2017, inspired by a homeless man at his local tube station. 

Founder & CEO of Beam, Alex Stephany

Stephany would frequently help the man, who had been out of work for decades, by supplying him with cups of coffee and socks, but always wondered if there was anything more he could do. 

He hit upon the idea of crowdfunding to help homeless people into careers, enabling them to regain their independence and pride.

“At Beam, we believe that technology, when used effectively and collaboratively, has the potential to change millions of lives,” said Beam’s Founder Alex Stephany. 

So far, the platform has crowdfunded over £1 million in donations from the public, helping over 150 members of the homeless community gain the support and resources they desperately need to secure a stable career.

Backed by the Mayor of London, Nesta and some of the world’s top tech entrepreneurs, Beam partners with more than 46 charities, and is currently working in collaboration with nine local authorities within London. It says that it looks forward to the next year when it will begin to expand its services beyond London and into other UK cities.

Beam was crowned the winner at the virtual final on 17th November 2020, coinciding with Global Entrepreneurship Week. As the national winner, Beam was awarded a selection of prizes worth over £90,000. Also announced at the competition were industry winners — seven UK tech start-ups from a range of sectors, including MedTech and SmartCities.

Super Connect for Good – Industry Winners

The Virtual Final, held during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020, was a truly global affair, attended by people from across the world, with over 50 regional and industry judges, 12 partners and more than 20 exhibitors.

“Our goal was to discover the best emerging and disruptive tech start-ups and scale-ups in the UK & Ireland, enhancing people’s lives through technology,” said James Hallahan, director of Hays IT and the competition’s head judge.

Beam’s product stood out to the judges not only for its potential for huge social impact, but also for it’s proven funding model, scalability, and vision in its purpose of tackling homelessness.

Kosta Mavroulakis, founder and CEO of Empact Ventures and GEN UK’s national director for England, said: “Congratulations to our National Winner Beam, our 7 Industry Winners and 8 Regional Winners who are truly making an aggregate social impact through technology in society such as supporting the homeless, improving education, healthcare, public services and more. 

“We are delighted with the response that Super Connect for Good 2020, the competition powered by Empact Ventures and Hays has received from across the country, the startup ecosystem and local communities.”

Philip Marais, start-up program leader for Northern Europe at OVHcloud, was one of the regional judges for the competition. He said: “It is wonderful to see the value that Empact Ventures is delivering to the local startup ecosystem through the Super Connect for Good Competition. I am blown away by the quality of the applicants. Surely, our global challenges are in good hands with our local entrepreneurs!”

Philip Marais discusses how OVH are supporting startups and what they’re were looking out for in the competition with TBT Editor in Chief, Matthew Hughes.

Visit Super Connect for Good for more information, and a full list of regional and industry winners.

Bekki Barnes

With 5 years’ experience in marketing, Bekki has knowledge in both B2B and B2C marketing. Bekki has worked with a wide range of brands, including local and national organisations.