“In nature, females are the spawn of life and are inherently superior in their capabilities, empathy, instinct, and chemistry. Women are the vessels of our creation and they are our first teachers, our first bond, and the fundamental basis of who we are. Enabling full resiliency for women to achieve maximum economic and social potential throughout all communities elevates households, strengthens businesses, and achieves solidarity among communities. Our portfolio selects innovative solutions that harnesses and maximizes that potential with women-centric for-profit business models.”
The SafeYOU journey began in 2018 when the Enterprise Incubator Foundation, a technology business incubator and IT development agency, won the World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Initiative ‘Development Marketplace for Innovation in GBV Prevention and Response’ award for Geeks against GBV project. Following this the winners, a women-led team, researched and designed the concept of the Safe YOU application.
Mariam Torosyan, Founder & CEO of SafeYOU
“After weeks of technical development, translations, and design we successfully launched the app, giving our Georgian partners a segregated database to manage their content–including forum posts, and support service providers which, each country manages by a locally licensed partner,” explains social entrepreneur Mariam Torosyan, project team leader that developed the mobile solution, and Founder/CEO of the Impact Innovations Institute (IMIN) which launched Safe YOU in 2020. Torosyan is proud to be managing a team of four women, ages 22-32. With a background in Human Rights Law and Anthropology, she is a Lecturer of Healthcare Law at Armenia’s Yerevan State Medical University.”
Description and Compelling Attributes
SafeYOU is an innovative app-based technology platform to address gender-based violence (GBV) with integrated capabilities for prevention, protection, and prosecution. The app also seeks to raise awareness, drive community building, and empower women. The technology platform also brings together previously siloed and poorly utilized resources from multitude of public agencies (e.g., health, social services, police, prosecutors, shelters, education) and NGOs touching various aspects of GBV. These entities are often paper-based and not well-organized to deal with rapidly changing market & technology dynamics, and thus provide revenue opportunities for SafeYOU through modernization and integration of their business operations.
On the prevention side, the app’s ‘safe space’ allows anonymous engagement in peer-to-peer discussions and Forums; and users can seek consultations, ask questions, or get urgent help from fully vetted and verified professionals as psychologists, doctors, and lawyers–in curated forums. NGOs can also endorse consultants or use the mobile app to apply to become consultants. Further, Safe YOU plans to enable real-time statistics and data analysis to help build proactive awareness and actionability by users as well as law & enforcement agencies.
To accelerate arrival of timely help, SafeYOU app has an innovative HELP button that is easy to be activated and initiates rapid outreach, along with geo-location, to pre-selected groups (e.g., personal contacts, service providers / responders, Police). Further, the app has two security levels designed to minimize discovery risk. On the prevention side, the HELP button automatically enables up to one minute of audio recording–most critical since most often victims are alone with the perpetrator and unable to produce tangible evidence for legal actions. The recording is also valuable for psychological consultations.
Cloud-based infrastructure, combined with an Smartphone-based App and APIs for easy integration with existing IT systems of relevant stakeholder entities, SafeYOU provides a scalable, flexible and self-sustainable solution for GBV.
Gender-based violence issue is a global challenge across both developing and developed economies, in several different forms – domestic violence, campus violence, alcohol and drug-induced violence – that creates immense life-changing impact on young girls and women of all ages. Additionally, due to lack of coordinated / centralized focus, existing resources are grossly under-utilized as well as mismanaged. Hence, SafeYOU presents replication opportunity in dozens of countries, as well as communities (e.g., college & university campuses) to achieve multiple economic benefits along with impacting such a big issue: cost savings through reduction in violence (through prevention & deterrence capabilities), operational efficiency gains for multitude of public and NGOs involved, revenues from innovative services to the target beneficiaries enabled through the platform.
Solution deployment can take various forms – led by public entities, non-profits or independent for-profit group. In all cases, revenues and cost-savings create self-sustainable model for country / community-wide scale.
Deployment to scale can be done in several phases – starting with 3-4 key agencies and then expanding to discussion-forums and more agencies, and then to service provider partners. Data analytics and cross-partner integrations would then provide further scaling and revenue opportunities.
Business model replications have been made easy through existing centralized cloud-based technology infrastructure, flexible and user-friendly app that can be easily adapted to local norms and protocols, and ‘blueprint’ from existing success stories.
Imagine a world where commonplace technologies (like cloud and mobile phones) drive effective deterrence and fundamental gender-based behavioral changes and equality. And when unexpected GBV events do happen, speed and power and cross-connectivity of platforms enables such a rapid response that the damage is a non-event. SafeYOU is a step in that direction, inviting all entities to embrace this simple but powerful platform to impact their citizens and elevate their own operations into digital economy.
We invite women’s causes and empowerment focused entities (private, public, NGOs) and change-makers looking to thrive through the power of market-based innovative solutions. Sustainability-oriented businesses and entrepreneurs can provide unique ways to extend and enhance this innovative solution.