During the first edition of the ECN CrowdCamp, which took place on the past 26 June in Lisbon, six start-ups with an interest in crowdfunding participated in a small Pitch Competition. The three judges nominated by ECN (i.e. Bart Becks, CEO of Angel.me; Jorge Santos, Partner at KPMG Portugal; Antonio Lucena de Faria, CEO of Fabrica de Startups) were in charge of evaluating the projects and select the winner, based on the following criteria:
- clarity of purpose
- potential impact (social and non social)
- growth potential
- readiness for crowdfunding
After a careful and difficult discussion, the judges nominated SPEAK the winner of the competition. Led by Hugo Menino Aguiar, former Googler, SPEAK is a crowdsourcing language and culture exchange between migrants and locals that breaks barriers, promotes multilingualism, equity and democratizes language learning.
Immigration is a hot topic these days in Europe and integration is in many cases a big challenge, starting from learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. SPEAK tries to make the integration challenge a little bit easier, by proposing a crowdsourced solution with a strong potential impact: its language and culture exchange programs are open to everyone and provide to people from different origins and cultures opportunities to meet and learn with each other. The results are tangible: after 12 weeks in SPEAK
- The migrant participant increases his sense of belonging to the city where he lives in 15%;
- The participants’ feeling that a language barrier exists decreases in 30%;
- The feeling that the language and culture of the participant is understood and valued by the inhabitants of the city increases in 40%.
SPEAK was born in Leiria and once thee launched an online product they managed to spread into other four cities in only six months (including Lisbon). The challenge for them is now reinforce their presence in their country and try to expand out of Portugal. To this end, they are currently running a reward crowdfunding campaign and plan to start another, international one at the beginning of 2016.