Entrepreneur showcase: WokenUp

Simon Puleston Jones spent the last 20 years as a lawyer and high-profile lobbyist in the City of London’s financial services sector. In January 2019, he switched careers to become a social entrepreneur, with the intent of empowering individuals and organisations around the world to collaborate as they take action to build the society and environment in which they want to live, in furtherance of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

Learn about Simon’s journey and his drivers behind WokenUp in this video we recorded earlier this week.


Purpose of  WokenUp: WokenUp’s mission is to transform humanity for good. Our vision is that by bringing you together with the other people and organisations taking action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and today’s social and environmental issues – from climate and sustainability to diversity and beyond – WokenUp deepens and accelerates your impact.

WokenUp is the new global social network with purpose, launching in beta on 4 November.

How does WokenUp engage both individuals and companies in tracking their efforts aligned to one or more of the SDGs Tagging the content that you post on WokenUp is the core of our functionality and its utility. On WokenUp, you can tag your posts not only with hashtags, but also with UN SDGs and “action” tags. When you upload a post that is tagged to a UN SDG, your profile page will then show that you have taken action pursuant to that SDG. By pressing on, say, the SDG#13 icon (Climate Action), I would instantly go through to all your posts on Climate Action pursuant to SDG 13. You can also show the action you are taking, and impact you are making, pursuant to the SDGs by posting a Snippet – a new type of social media post, unique to WokenUp, that enables you to post a single sentence of data, tagged to the SDG to which it relates, that really stands out in your network’s newsfeed thanks to its unique formatting – for example, you might post “33% – the amount by which we have reduced our Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions over the last 3 years” and tag that to SDG 13 (Climate Action). You can also click on any SDG icon to discover who is doing what around the world in furtherance of that SDG.

Woken Up purpose and benefits

How do your partnerships with institutions like city university promote engagement? Or what are your next big steps We launch in beta globally on 4 November, ahead of a full launch in January 2020. We have nearly 800 beta testers from 50 countries, and 40 corporate and non-profit launch partners, to support our beta testing. Those partners come from a range of industry sectors, with a particular focus on climate, sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Social networks live or die by their number of retained, engaged, users.

Organic, word-of-mouth growth is important, as it is the most trusted (over paid social media advertising). Our launch partner community will be posting engaging content and raising awareness of WokenUp within their own networks, to help us attract a critical mass of changemakers to really get the community going and to maximise its utility.

Some of our launch partners have huge networks of their own – tens of thousands of students or alumni, or hundreds of companies that are corporate partners. We look to bring as many of them onboard as possible, by leveraging their network of relationships and the media.

Some of our launch partners are colleges and universities that have over 10,000 students – for them, it’s about raising awareness with their students what they are doing on things like sustainability. Others launch partners are women’s networks, in banking, finance, sustainability and tech. A third subset of our community is tech-for-good companies and platforms – we seek to aggregate the world of tech-for-good through WokenUp, so that our users can readily find companies offering SOLUTIONS to the SDGs. That piece is critical – WokenUp is about TAKING ACTION and finding SOLUTIONS to today’s social and environmental issues. We don’t aspire to becoming just another talking shop.

In terms of next big steps, we’re exhibiting and pitching at Web Summit next week, in Lisbon – it’s the world’s largest tech conference. The week after, I’m speaking on a panel at the Digital Impact Summit in London on the use of digital to promote corporate responsibility. That’s the very core of WokenUp’s offering.

ChangeSchool Support

We are working with these enterprises to provide a range of support services, free advice on entrepreneurship, monthly coaching, new partnership opportunities, and access to industry mentors and capital. We also profile these wonderful organisations on our international platforms.

- Viren Lall, London