Google's Impact Challenge to develop life-changing ideas


Google will contribute 3.2 million to 10 charities to develop life-changing ideas that could transform millions of lives.

The British charities will each receive 200,000 as part of the fourth annual Impact Challenge, run by Google Giving, to fund their innovations.

One of the charities will be shortlisted by the public and a panel of judges including key influencers such as Jimmy Wales and Dragon's Den businessman Peter Jones will choose another three, each of which will have their prize fund boosted to 500,000.

All 10 organisations will receive mentoring from Google and innovation charity Nesta, which runs two funding initiatives for companies using technology to make a change. Digital Social Action Fund is part of the Cabinet Office Innovation fund, while the Impact Investment Fund finances charities that are developing new digital tools and services for social change.

Nesta said: "We believe that all of these funds offer people a great opportunity to further develop their digital products and services to bring benefit to more people. We hope in the future to continue developing and supporting the charity and community sector to embrace digital technology and use it to create far more social impact at even greater scale."

The projects chosen by Google for its Impact Challenge span technological innovation, biological research and social issues and all have one aim: "To make a better world, faster."

Kew Gardens has been shortlisted for its idea to eradicate malaria through the use of wearable acoustic sensors to detect the sound of mosquitoes, while Centrepoint will use data analysis to end youth homelessness.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People is developing smart glasses to help those with limited vision make use of the little sight they have, the St Giles Trust has created an app that will allow for ex-offenders to be rehabilitated and WeFarm's initiative is to help farmers in remote locations across the world connect with others via crowdsourced information.

Judge Peter Jones said: "After an inspiring process, we've unearthed ten exceptional projects from ten exceptional charities. Google's Impact Challenge shows that innovation is crucial to success. You can't stand still...These are non-profits doing great things that have a real impact on society."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.