Google Invites U.K. Nonprofits To Make 'Global Impact'

Google invites British charities to compete for £2 million pot in its latest Global Impact Awards, the search giant's way of rewarding innovative technology that will "change the world."
Google's 10 Best Gags, Pranks And Easter Eggs
Google's 10 Best Gags, Pranks And Easter Eggs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google on Sunday launched a special British version of its Global Impact Awards program as a way to encourage the country's nonprofits to use technology to "change the world."

This is Google's first country-specific Global Impact Awards program. Winning ideas in the first round of awards, presented in December to seven organizations, range from real-time sensors that monitor clean water to DNA barcoding that stops wildlife trafficking. Those winners received a total of $23 million.

"Technology can help solve some of the world's most pressing challenges and we're eager to back innovators who are finding new ways to make an impact. Today we're starting the hunt in the U.K.," said Google's official blog, "but we also know that nonprofits all over the world are using techy approaches to develop new solutions in their sector."

[ Discontinued products have hurt Google's reputation. Read Google Backlash: For Real This Time? ]

If you're a British nonprofit with a promising idea, you'd better get cracking: the deadline for submissions for this Global Impact Challenge is April 17. In May Google will announce 10 finalists, whose ideas will then be voted on by the public. In June, each finalist organization will be invited to present its idea to a panel of British business and technology leaders including Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, Web designer Sir Tim Berners-Lee and strategic communications specialist Jilly Forster, who has run international campaigns on issues as diverse as ethical trading and waste minimization.

"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," said Branson in a statement. "[the] 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."

Four winners, including the project chosen by the public, each will get a £500,000 ($759,000) Global Impact Award, as well as technical assistance and resources from Google to help make their dream a reality.

All applicants, who must be registered U.K. charities, must explain why they want to use technology and innovation to make the world a better place, and how they would implement the Global Impact Award to execute their plans "immediately and successfully," according to Google. Among the "signals" that an organization is "poised for success" is that it has partners and collaborators and a strong track record in its designated fields, said Google. But the competition is still about big visions: "We're looking for projects that use technology to solve a specific social issue on a grand scale," said the search giant.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey on IT spending priorities. Take the InformationWeek 2013 IT Spending Priorities Survey today. Survey ends March 29.