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Language tool for hearing impaired wins award

A language learning communication tool helping hard-of-hearing people has been awarded Banco Santander’s Santander X award, winning €60,000 in cash.

Háblalo won the "Accelerate" Category in the awards. Photo: Háblalo

"For the last five years we have been working to change the world"

Háblalo was created by IAE business school in Argentina, and describes itself as a “free multi-tool that helps facilitate communication” for more than 200,000 hearing-impaired users in 65 countries.

The award features two categories, Launch and Accelerate; Háblalo won the Accelerate category.

“This award means the world to us,” said Mateo Salvatto, Háblalo CEO.

“We are very grateful to Santander and our entire team… for the last five years we have been working to change the world of a large part of the population that has somehow been forgotten,” he continued.

The startup, which was born from Salvatto’s company Asteroid Technologies and now features different services for organisations, including Háblalo for business, education, employment and events, was born out of the belief in “technology as an opportunity equalising tool for every society”.

The award’s Launch category was won by Kronosafe, a Spanish project seeking to “increase the safety and efficacy of Temporary Stimulation” to avoid “unnecessary” ICU admissions.

The winners will be added to the Santander X 100 “global entrepreneurship community”.

“This award is vital for us to scale our business model”

The list will provide the companies “resources they need to grow”, including networking, capital and training.

Also able to join the program is The Washing Machine, a project from the University of Bath which created a hand-cranked washing machine to save water, which received an honourable mention in the category. It has been involved in a pilot project at refugee camps in Iraq.

“[This category gives] support and visibility to the innovation that emerges from and develops in the universities themselves,” said Bianca Sagastume, deputy global director of Santander Universities.

“Supporting this is key to building a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous future for all,” she added.

Háblalo was originally developed by Salvatto to “help my mom’s 40 students.”

“My expectations were really low… I didn’t develop it to be a huge startup or what it is today,” he said in an article on PCMA.

On receipt of the award he also added, “This award is vital for us to scale our business model and continue to enhance our solution to improve people’s lives”.

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