A judging panel has selected the winners of Google’s Impact Challenge, a competition, supported by Nesta, that challenged UK charities to change the world through innovative technology.
The panel selected WeFarm, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Centrepoint, each of whom take home a £500,000 grant, as well as mentoring from Google and Nesta staff to deliver their projects.
A fourth finalist, The Royal National Institute for the Blind, was chosen by the public to receive the final £500,000 grant. Millions of people have viewed the finalists’ project summaries over the past 12 days, posting hundreds of thousands of votes (at g.co/ukchallenge).
To the surprise of the finalists and audience, former Impact Challenge judge and ongoing supporter Sir Richard Branson appeared via Google Hangout from Necker Island to reveal the winning organisations.
Google was also delighted to award the remaining six finalists with £200,000 and mentorship to further hone and deliver their projects.
Google Impact Challenge winning project details:
1. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: Crowdsourcing data to help prevent mosquito-borne diseases
2. WeFarm: Peer-to-peer communication service to help farmers improve their livelihoods
3. Centrepoint: Data analytics to keep young people off the streets
4. The Royal National Institute of Blind People: Smart glasses to improve life for people with sight loss
In addition to financially supporting all ten exceptional projects, through the Google Impact Challenge, Google was keen to highlight the work of the UK non-profit community, and believes technology can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Sir Richard Branson said:
“It’s such a pleasure to be involved once again in the Google Impact Challenge, an amazing initiative. All ten finalists have shown the UK and international non-profit community that the adoption of tech innovation can drive massive, global change that can transform the lives of millions of vulnerable people and species the world over.”
Impact Challenge Judge and Dragon Peter Jones said:
“After an inspiring process, we’ve unearthed four outstanding projects from ten exceptional charities. Google’s Impact Challenge shows that innovation is crucial to success. You can’t stand still.”
Jimmy Wales, Impact Challenge Judge and founder and chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation added:
“The Google Impact Challenge gave every charity in the UK the opportunity to consider how they could harness the unprecedented power of technology to achieve their aims, and I am very proud to have been a part of an initiative that helps worthy causes deliver life-changing results.
“I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than giving away vast sums of Google’s money!”
Jacquelline Fuller, Impact Challenge judge and director of Google.org said:
“I’ve been blown away by the ambition and vision of Britain’s social entrepreneurs. The 10 finalists had bold projects, nimble teams and innovative approaches to cracking some of society’s most serious issues. They’re sparking a new wave of excitement to change the world.”
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