2016 Young Entrepreneurs Awards: Toby Norman

Initiative: Simprints

Country of impact: Bangladesh

A non-profit tech start-up that has developed a mobile biometric scanner with associated open-source software that can be used by global researchers, NGOs and governments to accurately link people to their digital records.

Toby Norman

The World Bank estimates that one third of all births go unregistered and that 2 billion people worldwide lack formal identification, limiting their access to essential services. Without reliable identification, it is not possible to link children to their vaccination records, provide banking to the poor, or track progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Linking people to their digital records

Founded by Toby Norman in 2014, Simprints is a non-profit tech start-up that builds low-cost, rugged, hand-held fingerprint scanners that can sync wirelessly with smartphones. The technology integrates seamlessly into many of the mobile platforms that are increasingly being used in the developing world for healthcare, finance and education. It accurately links people to their digital records.

A legal identity for all

Accurate identification is essential to monitor progress across a range of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is addressed explicitly in Goal 16.9, which promises a legal identity for all by 2030.

In 2014, Simprints tested their first prototypes in Bangladesh and they have just started to roll out their products with BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, in four urban slums in Bangladesh. The project will reach 22,000 mothers and children in 2016. BRAC employs more than 90,000 health workers across the country and intends to expand their mobile health (mHealth) project decisively over the next two years, providing Simprints with a potentially huge opportunity to scale up.

View Toby’s competition entry here

The next round of Awards opens in May 2017, register your interest here.

Back to top

Connect with us

We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.

Contact us

Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

Contact us