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Ideas Made to Matter

Artificial Intelligence

These 12 European startups are using technology to improve opportunities for low- and middle-income workers


An artificial intelligence-driven career adviser, an industrial smart glove, freelance insurance, a tactile laptop for the visually impaired.

The 12 European finalists of the global MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge are “improving economic opportunity for workers,” according to the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.

The challenge is the flagship program of the initiative, and this year the initiative launched a worldwide competition divided into five regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

“If we employ inclusive innovation globally, it could be the best thing that ever happened to humanity,” Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the initiative, said in a statement. “We can have more wealth, better health, and widely held prosperity.”

The 2018 IIC has two rounds, according to the program’s website. The first round involves 12 selected startups across four categories competing at “celebration events” in their home continents.

The four categories are skills development and opportunity matching, financial inclusion, income growth and job creation, and technology access. The competitors are judged on vision, impact, participation, and scalability.

The winner of each category then goes on to compete in November during the Global Grand Prize Gala at MIT. The gala includes four $250,000 prizes, one for each category.

The European finalists are traveling to Darmstadt, Germany, in early September, where they will pitch their ideas at a regional competition.

The 12 European finalists are:

Skills development and opportunity matching
Data4You provides an all-ages coding boot camp.

Jobiri assists people with finding jobs through an AI-driven career adviser.

micro:bit provides tiny programmable computers for students and teachers.

Income growth and job creation
ABURY’s “Design meets Craft” connects designers and artisans through a digital platform to find creative project partners, and connect with the global market.

mecasa is an online platform connecting caretakers with senior individuals who need daily support.

ProGlove is a smart glove designed to scan and streamline manufacturing and logistics work.

Financial inclusion
hiveonline is a mobile platform offering small- and micro-businesses administrative help and access to financial services.

Trezeo provides a mobile financial platform for independent workers.

Sherpa offers insurance to people who are self-employed, freelancers, contractors, and other entrepreneurs.

Technology access
BLITAB is a tactile tablet designed for blind and visually-impaired users.

Pangea Electronics
Pangea Electronics builds sustainable and eco-friendly technology.

Teqmine Analytics
Teqmine Analytics uses AI to help customers with their research and development questions.

For more info Meredith Somers News Writer (617) 715-4216