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Playmob founder Jude Ower Wins Talent Unleashed 2014 Awards

Ower named “One to Watch in 2015” in awards for top technology talent, winning trip to Sir Richard Branson’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa

Talent International has unveiled the Talent Unleashed Awards 2014 UK winner, Jude Ower of Playmob as THE ‘One to watch’ for 2015 and recipient of the once in a lifetime trip to Richard Branson’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa this November.

Jude Ower is founder and CEO of Playmob, which enables companies to raise money for charities by helping them create ‘in-game giving’ in their video games.

Jude has been entrepreneurial since childhood. Her fascination with ‘gaming for good’ began in 2010 when Farmville raised $1.5m for the Haiti earthquake victims – a huge social impact, which saw the gamer community highly engaged and spending more in-game.

Playmob combines gaming techniques (points, leader boards, stretched goals) to enable companies to engage their employees and customers, to nudge behaviour, and reward goal delivery. Individuals complete actions online which lead to the corporate achieving pre-defined goals, and reward the person with charity points.

Charity points are then given to projects which have clear goals, tracked in real-time and enable each person to feel closer to the impact delivered. Impact pages show a history and updates from all the projects supported by a person, group and company.

The awards, run by IT&T recruitment company Talent International in association with WIRED, celebrates individuals who have used technology in a creative or entrepreneurial way to transform business or the social landscape.

Commenting on her win, Jude said, “I’m ecstatic to win the Talent Unleashed Awards, particularly against such tough competition. It’s rewarding to see that Playmob has been recognised by technology leaders and I hope this provides us with fresh opportunities to reach new audiences and help raise money for charities through play.”

Judging the UK entries were Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson; executive director of digital in the Cabinet Office, Mike Bracken; Telefonica’s head of channel, Jennifer Rigby; founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, Emma Mulqueeny; Balderton Capital principal, Rob Moffat; Nate Lanxon, editor at Wired.co.uk; and Talent founder, Richard Earl.

Sir Richard Branson said on the night, “I’ve been bowled-over by the quality of the UK finalists. In this digital age, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the personal journey that sits behind every great innovation but it’s your ideas that really shine through the award entries. These exciting concepts and technologies you’ve created will ensure that you enjoy many years of success and enrich the lives of millions of people touched by your drive and innovation.”

With such worthy and gifted individuals on the shortlist, Talent International awarded prizes for second, third, fourth and fifth place too.

In second place came Nick Holzherr, CEO of Whisk – an innovative online food app, taken up by Tesco, Waitrose, Asda and Ocado, which makes shopping and recipe planning easier. Nick won £5,000 in recruitment fees from Talent International.

In third place was Piers Ridyard, inventor of the Nifty Minidrive – a tiny easily-installed extra storage device designed for Apple Macbooks.

In fourth place, Ben Hookway, CEO of Relative Insight – a language analytics firm which provides brands with unique insights into how to engage more effectively with their customers.

In fifth place, John Agnes, CEO and founder of Constant Commerce – making it easier for consumers to buy products they see featured in adverts, web content and on mobile apps.

Nifty, Relative Insight and Constant Commerce all won £2,000 in recruitment fees from Talent International.

Jon Butterfield, CEO of Talent’s UK operation, commented, “Jude Ower is such a worthy winner. Playmob is a clever and unique way of making the most of an activity we enjoy – gaming – to support our society by raising money for those that need it the most. Jude’s passion and determination has meant that over 3,000 teenagers received counselling for cyberbullying, safe drinking water has been delivered to 1,500 people, 31 pandas are now protected, 130 tons of CO2 has been offset, and thousands of meals have been delivered to homeless people worldwide.”

Jon continued, “Every individual in our shortlist has a unique perspective on our world and has had the motivation and drive to solve problems that we face. The shortlist is only a snapshot of what British entrepreneurs and technologists can achieve – it’s been inspiring to read.

See all the action from the awards under the hashtag #TalentUnleashed and follow Talent (@UK_Talent) on Twitter.

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Charlotte Stoel / Lucy Steadman
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