The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were created 32 years ago to foster a spirit of enterprise and advance human knowledge and well-being around the globe.
They provide financial support and recognition to new and ongoing projects that demonstrate working innovative ideas; addressing pressing needs around the world, from climate change, to wildlife and habitat preservation, to cultural preservation, to providing water, food, medical supplies and education for impoverished communities.
Those who present the most exceptional projects each receive US $100,000 and a specially inscribed, gold Rolex chronometer at an official awards ceremony.
Projects are judged on their feasibility, originality, potential for sustained impact and, above all, on the candidates’ spirit of enterprise. Applicants must show how they will turn an original idea into a functioning project, and how, through initiative and ingenuity, their projects will benefit mankind.
The Laureates were chosen from nearly 1,500 applicants in 127 countries by an independent panel of scientists, educators, economists and other experts.
In 2010, Rolex launches the Young Laureates Programme to encourage innovation in the next generation, seeking out budding pioneers and providing them with funding and encouragement to implement their original ideas and gain the experience to become tomorrow’s leaders. The two variations of the programme will now alternate on a two-yearly basis. The original Rolex Awards for Enterprise continues in 2012, open to any eligible applicant of any age. Application forms will be available in mid-2010.