One often ignored strength of the Northern tech sector is ‘tech for good.’ Across the region, entrepreneurs seem more willing than most to think about people over profit. Indeed, the Dotforge accelerator ran an Impact programme last year to help develop this most virtuous of fields.
Reason Digital is another great example of this socially-minded approach to technology. The Manchester-based agency focuses on projects that make the world a better place. A social enterprise, it ploughs its profits back into doing more good work.
Take Gone for Good; this mobile app is essentially ‘Uber for charitable giving.’ First, you take photos of items you want to donate to a charity shop. Then you select a charity, and that charity comes and collects the items without you having to take them anywhere. Bam – it’s gone for good. And for good. Yeah, you get it.
Safety Nets is another strong example. This app is designed to help sex workers share information and stay safe on city streets.
Meanwhile, Reason’s client work include building websites and apps for charities. It generated websites for each of the Trussell Trust‘s food banks, for example. It also helps corporations with their corporate social responsibility programmes and has developed software to help them keep track of whether they’re living up to their targets.
Reason Digital began as a vanilla web design agency almost a decade ago. Founders Matt Haworth and Ed Cox felt unfulfilled building products for businesses so decided to target the charity sector. There’s a lovely promo video about their story so far over on their site.
A community for good
Now Reason Digital is trying to build tech for good into more of a community in Manchester with regular events planned. It’s also started a Tech For Good Twitter account that highlights activity in the space.
Reason’s new podcast is a clear encapsulation of the tech for good movement. In it, team members discuss socially-minded technology in a lightweight, accessible way. If random encounters are any kind of guide, it’s being well received. I recently told a stranger at an event in London that I lived in Manchester. She responded by raving about how much she enjoys the Tech for Good podcast.
In a world where we seem to talk about investment and profit as the key drivers of progress, it’s good to know that social progress has a place too.
Social good is a form of wealth too, after all.
The next Tech for Good event is on Thursday August 25th, 6.30pm at the Co-op’s HQ in Manchester.
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