Elemental's co-founders win Cambridge Social Innovation prize for pandemic response

  • Photo: Elemental Co-Founders/CEOs Leeann Monk-Ozgul and Jennifer Neff

    Elemental co-founders, Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk-Ozgul, have been recognised as one of the winners of the Cambridge award due to their digital social prescribing platform.

    The Derry-based firm’s software has helped to address unmet needs in healthcare, housing and in communities throughout the UK and Ireland during Covid-19.

    The second annual Cambridge Social Innovation Prize winners were announced last week. The initiative awards four outstanding social entrepreneurs with a £10,000 grant for professional development, 10 days of business advice from experts at Cambridge Judge Business School, and introductions to new partners, investors and other opportunities.

    Awarded in partnership with Trinity Hall, the award aims “to enable leaders boost their own leadership capacity so they can meet new challenges head-on”.

    RELATED: Elemental: What is social prescribing and how is it helping the COVID-19 pandemic?

    As many businesses have struggled throughout the pandemic, the Elemental team has faced an unprecedented demand for their services.

    Jennifer said: “We’ve been working closely with our network of Elemental customers including 4,100 GPs, 108 social workers, 854 link workers and 51,318 people who benefit from their 939 programmes and services they deliver first hand.

    "They’ve been telling us that demand for their services increased dramatically during Covid, that new referral routes were established to support more people and that the strength of relationships formed between health and social care, housing, local government and community sectors enabled them to get ahead of the crisis.

    “To know that our digital platform has helped to enhance social support during such unprecedented times makes us feel extremely proud. It’s also testament to our talented team who adapted so well to remote working to ensure we continued to support our customers to support their communities.”

    RELATED: Tech Craic: Elemental Software's Jennifer Neff - How social prescribing can help during pandemic

    Leann added: “The support we’ll receive from Trinity Hall and The Cambridge Centre will allow us to focus on how we can further bolster the impact of digital and social prescribing. We’re extremely grateful for this opportunity and excited about working with our new advisor Karen Anderson and the team at Cambridge in the very near future.

    “Coming from a background of community development, we set out to mainstream social prescribing and make huge impacts to the lives of thousands of people around the UK and Ireland. The increase in demand for our digital social prescribing platform has reinforced the point that the social prescribing model of care is extremely important for community resilience, and the benefits of digital to be able to track, manage and report on the effectiveness is needed, now more than ever.”

    RELATED: Elemental's Leann Monk-Ozgul named one of UK's Most Influential Women in Tech 2020

    Baroness Glenys Thornton, former Minister for Health and a leader in the social enterprise sector, was one of this year’s judges for the prize.

    She commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, but also a crisis of social care and the economy. Social enterprises across the UK have formed a key plank in our national response to the pandemic, responding in unique and creative ways to the health and economic crises. They need our support to meet the explosion in demand for their proven, impactful interventions.”

    “The University of Cambridge has contributed significantly to the medical response – we are now proud to be able to support the economic recovery by supporting businesses whose work is 100% focused on creating positive social impact,” said Dr Belinda Bell, who leads the team delivering the prize.

    “Our support will help social CEOs develop personally and professionally so they can lead in rebuilding the economy on more equitable and sustainable terms.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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