Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia and Africa, together with Humanitarian Partner International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Technology Partner Lenovo, today launches the second edition of the SAFE STEPS Disaster Tech (D-Tech) Awards. The Awards find, fund and support technology solutions that save lives before, during or after natural disaster events.

Since 2000, more than 40 per cent of global disaster events have taken place in the Asia Pacific region, resulting in around 800,000 deaths and affecting 3.2 billion people. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected more than 11 million people and expected to result in over US$2.7 trillion in economic losses, has magnified the importance of disaster preparedness and collaboration across all sectors in reducing the threat and impact of natural disaster events.

The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards was created by Prudence Foundation out of the belief that technology innovation can play a more significant role in improving disaster preparedness, recovery and resilience. The Awards are part of SAFE STEPS, a multi-platform, mass awareness programme developed by Prudence Foundation and supported by the IFRC and other partners to provide life-saving information around natural disaster events, road safety and first aid.

Organisations participating in the Awards will stand a chance to win grants from a pool of US$200,000 to support the implementation and scaling of their D-Tech solutions. Semi-finalists and finalists will have access to expert coaching, pitching and networking opportunities with humanitarian representatives, venture capital fund managers, fellow tech entrepreneurs and social enterprise developers. Finalists will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges in June 2021.

Donald Kanak, Chairman of Prudence Foundation, said, “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised the awareness of the critical need for disaster preparedness and the power of technology in resilience, response and recovery. We established the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards to encourage entrepreneurs across the world to direct their energy and ingenuity in applying their technology to reduce the devastating impact of disasters. We believe D-Tech has huge potential to be a disruptive game changer for good and be just as impactful as technology has been in other areas, such as edtech, fintech and medtech.”

Alexander Matheou, IFRC’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, said, “2020 has shown us that resilience against disasters has never been more important. IFRC is pleased to work with Prudence Foundation again on the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards to bring businesses and communities together to support tech solutions that will help save lives.”

Pratima Harite, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for Lenovo Asia Pacific, said, “Technology can play a fundamental role in improving resilience in communities impacted by natural and other disasters. Lenovo aims to combine the power of world-class technology solutions with the creativity and know-how of local entrepreneurs and charitable organisations, to achieve better preparedness, recovery, and resilience.”

The Awards are supported by a wide range of strategic partners, including the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), Antler, e27, Give2Asia, Hatcher+, Jubilee Capital Management and National Geographic.

The competition is open for entries from today to 19 February 2021. Both for-profit and non-profit organisations are welcome to apply. Details of the application criteria, timeline and other relevant information can be found here.

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