Bruno Tachinardi and Tricia Araujo are co-founders of Fofuuu, a company whose mission is to use technology recreationally to make healthcare more accessible and boost psychomotor development in an inclusive and adaptive way for children aged 2 to 6.
The significant social impact of this initiative is the reason why, in 2020, Fofuuu was one of 20 projects to win the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge, an entrepreneurship challenge developed by the Santander Bank to come up with innovative solutions to the new paradigm posed by the COVID-19 health crisis.
Specifically, Fofuuu was one of 5 winning projects out of over 800 in the Re-Invent category, aimed at finding solutions that help society to evolve, particularly those population brackets most affected by the pandemic.
“The role of an entrepreneur is to support society by creating solutions that help us in our lives during this 'new normal'. We are able to analyse the difficulties facing different sectors of society and act with a problem-solving approach”.Tricia Araujo, co-founder of Fofuuu, winning project of the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge (2020) in the Re-Invent category
Her own personal experience enabled her to grab the chance when it presented itself and to make the most of entrepreneurship scholarships to kick-start her business concept. This young Brazilian woman was born with a harelip, but rather than letting it hold her back, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to turn her own experiences into a source of inspiration to help other children with developmental difficulties.
“After 15 surgeries and 8 years of intensive speech therapy sessions and activities, I was able to overcome not only my rehabilitation, but also all the prejudices that I had to endure due to the simple fact of being so different from other kids, in a city where most people didn't understand the causes of my illness.”Tricia Araujo, co-founder of Fofuuu
Although she studied Fashion Design in São Paulo (Brazil), the lack of jobs in her chosen field drove her to accept an invitation from Bruno, now her workmate, to take on the design and artistic and creative management of some projects which Bruno, licensed in Game Design, was working on.
"One of these apps involved blowing on the microphone on your mobile device to compete in a sailing race. Coincidentally, an acquaintance of ours, an expert in speaking and language disorders, heard about the project and she suggested using it on patients with a harelip and cleft palate."Tricia Araujo, co-founder of Fofuuu
This mix of serendipity, resilience and entrepreneurial vision was the source of Fofuuu's goal: to provide kids with more appealing, simpler tools to perform their speech therapy exercises at home, school and professional centres.
“We had to come up with a new way for therapists, educators, carers and children to work together via telemedicine and distance learning which would help to solve these problems.”Bruno Tachinardi, co-founder of Fofuuu
“We saw an opportunity to help kids complete their therapy exercises in a fun way, but not only that: we became aware of the difficulties and problems therapists, carers and educators faced when working with children with special needs, and how technology could help them to close the gap between offices and homes.”Tricia Araujo, co-founder of Fofuuu
It was their participation in the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge that pushed them to consolidate their business.
“When we heard that we were one of 5 winners in the Re-Invent category, it was one of the best days of our lives. The programme provided us with funding, training, mentoring... everything we needed to take on the challenge we were facing.”Bruno Tachinardi, co-founder of Fofuuu
“The Santander X Tomorrow Challenge came along at exactly the right time. It allowed us to pivot to a new business model and launch a new version of our app.”Tricia Araujo, co-founder of Fofuuu
Currently, Tricia and Bruno have two apps available:
Two tools and a mission that gives them much satisfaction, especially through the feedback they receive from users. Harnessing their experience, they invite other entrepreneurs to be proactive and turn their ideas into reality, soliciting all the scholarships necessary.
“We have to seek the impact that our solution can have on people's lives. It doesn't matter which field you start up a business in - healthcare, wellness, education - if the solution helps just one person, it's worth it.”Tricia Araujo, co-founder of Fofuuu
That's exactly what Banco Santander defends. In the wake of the success of the 2020 Santander X Tomorrow Challenge, with over 2,250 registered projects participating, Banco Santander - together with Oxentia Foundation - is now launching Santander X Environmental Challenge, a global challenge targeted at entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to build a more sustainable future.
This new call will be sharing 120,000 € between 6 winning companies, as well as providing expert mentoring from Oxentia Foundation and publicity on channels and networks.
The challenge is divided in two categories:
Thus, on the one hand, Banco Santander is encouraging investors and, ultimately, society itself, to select these businesses and, on the other, the global challenge brings visibility, resources and tools to business ideas that our immediate future depends on.
Do you have a solution that promotes green financing and investment, or that encourages businesses and industries to reinvent themselves in order to reduce their environmental impact? Register for the global Santander X Environmental Challenge and give your initiative a boost. Best of luck!