Back to database    Mar 28, 2017

Innovation series gathers stories of some of the most innovative social businesses around the world that work with the dual aim of profit and impact. Businesses committed to doing good stand out from the crowd because most customers feel good about supporting socially proactive companies. They also achieve a boost in productivity since employees who know their work tangibly affects the lives of others are more likely to go above and beyond. It is hoped that the series will impart useful knowledge for greater institutional support for activities with social innovation impact. Read about SEV’s new investor-led initiative – a social venture builder.

Social business: Prysmex

by Joanne Willemin & Yusuf Jaffar

prysmexDespite constantly evolving safety standards, industrial accidents still do happen more often than desired, representing considerable human and environmental costs. Construction, mining and petrochemical industries are just the few where most such accidents take place. Companies are taking measures by investing in safety training and increasing the regularity of material checks. Still, however, it is operationally difficult for them to have a global view of all working conditions in real time.

Innovation to emulate

Prysmex is a startup that was founded by three Mexican students trying to create a more efficient way for managers to monitor the safety of their employees working on the ground. They have designed intelligent industrial wearables – helmets and vests – that are able to detect many environmental variables and are connected to a web platform for information monitoring.

These wearables provide real time data on workers’ location and their exposure to hazards, unsafe lighting conditions, and dangerous temperature levels. They also measure personal data such as the workers’ heart rate and body temperature and can even detect one’s fall automatically. An emergency button is included on the equipment.

All information gathered becomes instantly available on a web platform, which enables managers to react quickly in an emergency. Over the long term, the analytics tool provided by Prysmex can help companies understand the prevailing working conditions better for enhancements and prevention of major industrial accidents.

Impact to date

The social business has received financial support from the National Institute of Entrepreneurship in Mexico and was the only Mexican project among the 70 finalists during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in July 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

In June 2016, they were amongst the 10 winners of the Latin America Bridge competition organised by Coca Cola. The latter announced that it would be using Prysmex’s products to standardise its industrial safety processes across the bottling facilities, toward the goal of achieving a zero accident target by 2020.  

you may also like

a school girl using a tablet with headphones on

Technology to enable quality education in poor communities

Zaya Learning Labs is a social enterprise that has developed tools schools can use through a tablet or other WiFi enabled devices. They provide interactive class material and videos which focus on Maths, Science and English and target students up to the fifth grade.

   Sep 26, 2017 Read more

3 asian young men discussing something at a table with a laptop


Since 2015, Foodabox has been working to spread an eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene and plastic packaging, making it more affordable and accessible for food operators via food box advertising. The startup has gained traction since.

   Sep 26, 2017 Read more

Five men in blue T-shirts standing with hands crossed against a pickup truck

1L Car Wash

As a social enterprise, 1L Car Wash also aims to reduce rising youth unemployment. We offer fair paying employment and train youth from underprivileged backgrounds to be auto-detailers, empowering them with essential life as well as entrepreneurial skills.

   Sep 26, 2017 Read more