Tech for Good

How one woman uses technology to bring social impact to our fingertips

With a projection of 2.5 billion smartphone users in 2019, it’s becoming increasingly clear: Mobile is the way of the future. And considering that millennials and Gen Z are passionate about creating impact, it’s only fitting that someone would utilize this technology to do good.

That someone is Elizabeth Sarquis, whose companies leverage mobile gaming to provide users with opportunities to give back. Elizabeth sits at the helm of Global Gaming Initiative (GGI) and Jukko, the latter headquartered in Minneapolis. Jukko works with advertisers and mobile app publishers to directly connect ad engagement to social good. The company does this by highlighting brands, products and services that contribute to society — all within the realm of mobile games and apps. 

What gets Sarquis, a former game developer, out of bed each morning is her desire to use technology for social impact. The Global Gaming Initiative, of which she is co-founder, is a cooperative dedicated to building solutions that enable developers and publishers to use their mobile games for social good. Further underscoring her commitment to doing good, GGI is a certified B Corp, a for-profit company certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

The technology Elizabeth works with is smart, effective and positively changing the way companies use their ad dollars. Here’s our Q&A with one of the techiest gals in town:

Studio/E: When did your commitment to social impact begin?
Sarquis: When I was a little girl. I moved here from Colombia when I was five, and when I went back for the summers, I’d wake up in the mornings, have my breakfast, then go outside and see children begging. I saw at an early age so much disparity between people who were comfortable and people who had nothing, so I committed to make a difference. 

Studio/E: Why incorporate impact into mobile gaming?
Sarquis: I wanted to create a whole new way of giving back. I love games, and if there’s so much money in the industry, why not let millennials and Gen Z do what they do best while creating the world they want? Everyone kind of feels guilty about being on their phones. Your time is the most important currency you have. So now, while you’re doing something you already love to do, you can also make an impact.

Studio/E: GGI was already established when you started Jukko. Why start another company?
Sarquis:  The ideation process started in 2015. I was on the phone with mobile developers around the world and was able to bring a lot of people into my community. Everyone had the same thought — that the current stage of mobile advertising is far from exciting on every level. So we changed the way ads were delivered in mobile games.
Studio/E: What’s in it for businesses to advertise in games?
Sarquis:  TV used to be where you saw ads, now it’s mobile apps and mobile games. It’s also a company’s responsibility to give back, which they can do through these ads. Giving changes your brain. If you help anybody on any level, you feel so much happier. It’s like buying coffee for the next three people in line. There’s so much anger and aggression right now, we need this kinder type of thinking. 

Studio/E: What advice do you have for individuals looking to create impact?
Sarquis:  Strive for transformational changes. Have an opinion ­— don’t be a bystander. Connect. Get to know your neighbors. It’s okay to say hello. Go meet them and see if they need anything. Wherever you live, start in your community. 

This story appears in print in our March/April issue. Click here for a complimentary subscription.