Skoll Venture Awards 2019

Matt Pierri - Skoll Venture Awardee, presenting at the pitch event with overlaying text saying "Something ventured. Something gained".
Matt Pierri - Skoll Venture Awardee

Highlighting our 2019 Skoll Venture Awards which supports University of Oxford student and alumni founded social businesses.

We have the ambitious goal to see all University of Oxford ventures and research spin-outs to be purpose driven at their heart.

Through our portfolio of social venture support programmes, including the Skoll Venture Awards, we hope to achieve it.

The Skoll Venture Awards support and celebrate socially impactful businesses founded by an Oxford student or alumni. Award winners get financial support for their venture, access to our network and a valuable platform for exposure of their mission. 

This year’s winner of the £25,000 first prize was the brilliant SociAbility App. The app makes going out and socialising easier for people with access needs by allowing them to search shops, venues, pubs, clubs and restaurants in an area to find information on how accessible they are. SociAbility is the brainchild of Oxford alumnus, Matt Pierri. Initially focused on Oxford, it aims to expand across the UK and, ultimately, internationally.  

SociAbility in numbers

The issue scale and what they have acheived so far.

1.5

billion people worldwide with access needs of some kind

86%

of disabled people in the UK do not find relevant accessibility information

£12B

a year in potential revenue lost by UK supermarkets and hospitality venues as a result

500

downloads of SociAbility app with more than 200 users signed up to contribute

700

venues listed on the SociAbility app across 10 countries

£25K

richer from winning the Skoll Venture Award

Matt says: ‘We’re on a mission to empower social inclusion for everyone. For people with access needs, the difficulty of finding an accessible venue can create stress and anxiety and become a tangible barrier to exploring one’s community and spending quality time with family and friends.’

‘Empowering people with access needs to socialise with greater confidence, purpose and ease.’

Matt Pierri,

Founder of SociAbility App

SociAbility was among five student-led social enterprises that pitched their venture ideas to a panel of judges in June 2019. They were judged on how well they articulated their proposed social or environmental impact, the strength of their business model for impact, their use of funding, and the strength of their team.

Watch the highlights from our 2019 Pitch Event

Audience choice winner

As well as the overall winner, an audience choice award of £5,000 was awarded to Devie, a trusted digital companion that guides parents on their journey from pregnancy to parenthood, equipping them to become their child’s best first teacher.

2019 Finalists

  • Lantana - bridges the gap in representation in children’s publishing, founded by Alice Curry, Bachelor of Arts (English Language and Literature), 2002-05.

  • Kai Pacha Foods - purchases climate-smart native Andean foods from conservationist farmers at fair prices and uses these to make plant-based milks. Founded by Alexander Wankel, Skoll Scholar and Oxford MBA 2018-19).

  • Intellicharge - uses software to help electric vehicle owners to charge their cars with the cheapest and the greenest electricity possible while helping the electricity grids balance. Founded by Pam Liu, Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics and Statistics), 2004-07.

Previous winners include: