CAST founder receives Queen’s Award for digital work

Social entrepreneur and investor Annika Small becomes an OBE in recognition of her leading work to bring social purpose to the digital revolution.

James Hayes | 15th Jun 18
Annika Small, co-founder of CAST, is the first recipient of a Queen’s Award for services to social innovation and digital technology.

A co-founder of the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology – CAST – has become the first recipient of a Queen’s Award for services to social innovation and digital technology.

Annika Small received the Order of the British Empire in recognition of almost 20 years pioneering the use of technology to address social problems, collecting the honour from Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Non-profit organisation CAST works to build a resilient and responsive civil society by using technology to drive social change. Age UK, Breast Cancer Care, Centrepoint, Action for Children, Safe Lives, Parkinsons UK and Law Centres Network, are among the charities that have worked with CAST to embed digital in their services, strategy and culture.

While women are well represented in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list (winning 49% of this year’s awards), only 39% received the higher awards of OBE, CBE and damehoods. Meanwhile, women still make up only 17% of the UK’s workforce in technology, according to a report from BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT.

The drive to address complex social problems is proving a significant motivation for more women to move into technology, said Annika Small: “We see it frequently reported that there are not enough women in tech, so I am delighted that 70% of the CAST team are women, and many at the vanguard of the movement to use digital to build a truly resilient social sector are too.”

Small added: “UK plc is already one of the most developed digital economies in the world. The next frontier is the use of technology to solve social and public challenges in health, education, care and the environment and it is so encouraging to see the importance of this sector recognised with the first Queen’s Award for services to social innovation and digital technology. I like to think this award is an acknowledgment of all the efforts of those at CAST and our network of partners to make the UK the leader in bringing a social purpose to the digital revolution.”