Nigel Vaz's people worth knowing: the SapientNitro European MD and guest-editor of The Drum reveals top social entrepreneurs to watch

There's a whole new generation of trailblazers shaking up the tech industry.

Several ambitious social entrepreneurs have burst on to the scene recently, bringing with them solutions and fresh ideas.

Here Nigel Vaz, SapientNitro's European MD and guest-editor of The Drum's 25 June issue, reveals which ones we should be keeping an eye on.

Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO, Girls Who Code

The former deputy public advocate of New York City, Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code to provide girls with a computer science education.Launched in 2012 in New York, Girls Who Code now works in five cities across the US. In 2010, Saujani became the first South Asian woman to run for Congress and she has developed a model of female leadership based around risk-taking, competition and mentorship. This formed the basis for her 2013 book, called ‘Women Who Don’t Wait in Line’.

Nicko Williamson, chairman, Climatecars and CEO, Bounce

Soon after graduating from Bristol University in 2006, Nicko Williamson launched his first venture, the environmentally friendly taxi company Climatecars. He spotted a gap in the market for a low-emission, cost-effective alternative to black taxis; corporate and private customers now use Climatecars across London. In 2013, Williamson launched Bounce, an app that enables the user to immediately book a minicab.

Chase Adam, co-founder, Watsi

Chase Adam hit upon the idea for Watsi, a crowdsourcing site that links donors with those in need of medical aid, while riding on a bus in Costa Rica. Serving in the Peace Corps at the time, Adam had also worked in private intelligence in Washington and run a health programme in Haiti.Since 2012, Watsi, which is a non-profit organisation, has since raised more than $2m for projects that have helped 1,000 people in 16 countries.

Ben Atkinson-Willes, founder and CEO, Active Minds

Ben Atkinson-Willes was a design student at Kingston University when he experienced dementia first-hand through his grandfather being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He turned his design skills to developing a range of activities suitable for adults with dementia and then, at the age of 23, turned this idea into a business venture with the launch of Active Minds. Active Minds’ products, including a range of jigsaws, have helped it to win big clients including the NHS, Age UK and Bupa.

Alasdair Davies, technical specialist, Zoological Society of London conservation technology unit

Alasdair Davies works on the development of the website for the EDGE of Existence programme, which aims to highlight and conserve species on the verge of extinction. Davies is also a founder and director of the primate conservation organisation The Great Primate Handshake.This feature was first published as part of The Drum’s 25 June issue, available for purchase in The Drum store or for subscribers to download here.

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