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Keeping the soul in innovation

Bethnal Green Ventures aims to promote new businesses while also spreading ideas about fairness and morality. The event will take place on October 4.

Ever since technology became a leading element in people’s lives, it has served many purposes: some good and some bad, usually depending on the hands that wielded it. The was a prime example of progress gone wrong; an amazing technological leap that only served to bring destruction and death to the world.

Some people, however, have been diligently working to put developing technologies to use in humanity’s best interest. Programs of distributing laptops to impoverished children in third-world countries and using financial projections to issue micro-loans for poor farmers to get back on their feet have often proved that technology can be used for the benefit of society.

The modern fair trade movement is another example of how concerned many people are about the moral implications of technology. People are now insisting that companies assure them the products they provide were obtained at a fair price from laborers and that no one was exploited in their creation.

To accent the moral obligations all people have to ensure technology is used in the right ways and for the right reasons, a UK-based group will hold an event to promote rising companies that suggest new and ethical uses for their technologies.

Bethnal Green Ventures is an organization that supports new startup companies in fields such as health, education, technology and the environment to promote sustainable living.

BGV is based in the Young Foundation, whose creator Michael Young was responsible for the formation of several successful social ventures including Open University, “Which?” Magazine, and Healthline: a precursor to NHS Direct.

In 2008 the group founded its first Social Innovation Camp to bring together software developers and people with social problems to create online solutions to those problems in under 48 hours. The camps have since spread to countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.

The 2012 Demo Day will feature six new startup companies developed over the last three months including FairPhone, a group aimed at producing the first fair trade mobile phones in the world from mining through to recycling, Municipality Tools, a designer of mobile apps for neighborhoods to help local authorities and for citizens to communicate with one another, and DrDoctor, which proposes putting patients in control of their healthcare appointments to change the way communication between them and their doctors takes place.

Charles Leadbeater, author of the book “We think”, will also be present to give a lecture on the social potential of technology and how innovation can come from unexpected places.

The event will take place on October 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Google Campus London, 5 Bonhill St., EC2A.

For more information, email hello@bethnalgreenventures.com or visit http://bethnalgreenventures.com.

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