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Richard Branson and Tim Berners-Lee to Judge UK Google Innovation Challenge

Google has announced an initiative to support non-profits in the United Kingdom that use technology in innovative ways to solve global problems.

The Google Global Impact Challenge is a follow-up to last year’s inaugural Global Impact Awards, which distributed $23 million to organizations such as Charity Water and the World Wildlife Fund. The new project will give $760,000 in funding to four UK non-profits that deliver compelling presentations outlining new ways to harness technology in the service of their charities. The winning organizations will also receive 10 Chromebooks and ongoing technical assistance from Google.

Google has signed on Sir Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin, and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, to judge the contest finalists

“I am a great believer in the power of entrepreneurs to solve key problems and improve lives through a combination of free thinking and the intelligent use of technology," Branson said in a statement to the Guardian. “Google’s Impact Challenge is a brilliant way to spark a new wave of innovation amongst non-profit foundations and charities and raise the profile of many great ideas in the non-profit sector.”

“The web’s contribution to economic progress has been much celebrated, but I believe that we are only scratching the surface of its potential to solve social and political problems,” Berners-Lee added.

Entrants must submit a video describing how their organization will use the prize money to innovate to tackle the world’s toughest problems and transform lives, according to the contest rules.

Google is accepting entries until April 17 and will announce the semi-finalists in May. After viewing these submission videos, the public will select four finalists, who will pitch their concepts in early June to a panel of judges that includes Branson and Berners-Lee.

In another of a recent string of competitions encouraging social innovation, Ben & Jerry’s and Ashoka launched their second Join Our Core competition to find the most innovative young social entrepreneurs in Europe, earlier this month.


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