Today Google UK has launched the 2014 Google Impact Challenge which invites charities to tell them how they would use technology to change the world.
The competition, which is the largest of its kind, has been supported by both Nesta and Acevo, who will provide support and mentoring to applicants to the challenge.
The top four submissions selected by a panel of judges and the public will each receive a £500,000 grant, as well as technical assistance and mentoring from both Google and Nesta to help make their projects a reality.
Matt Brittin, judge and Google’s vice president for Northern and Central Europe said: “At Google, we get very excited by innovations that make peoples’ lives better. The Impact Challenge gives us the chance to focus that passion on the dynamic British non-profit community.”
The judging panel consists of entrepreneur and star of Dragons' Den Peter Jones CBE, inventor of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, broadcaster and director of Red Nose Day Emma Freud, Nesta’s Innovation Lab Executive Director Helen Goulden and Google’s Matt Brittin and Jacquelline Fuller.
UK-registered charities have until 6 June to apply online and the ten finalists will be named on 21 July, after which the public will be able to vote online.
The final event will take place on 31 July, when the ten finalists will pitch their ideas to the judges, who will select three winners and the “fan favourite”. All the winners will receive a £500,000 grant, while six runners-up will each receive £200,000.
Helen Goulden, Impact Challenge judge and executive director of Nesta's Innovation Lab, added: “Nesta are hugely excited to see Google’s continued commitment to UK charities who have the imagination, ambition and appetite to innovate.
“And through this partnership, Nesta will be providing many more opportunities to support great uses of technology that address our most pressing social challenges.”
Last year’s winners included Solar Aid, Integrity Action, CDI Apps for Good and the fan favourite winner, the Zoological Society of London which created a camera system that is already tackling the poaching of endangered animals in Africa.
Acevo will also work with Google to create freely available online video resources for the whole sector.
Acevo’s chief executive Sir Stephen Bubb said: “I’m delighted that Acevo is partnering with Google again for the 2014 Impact Challenge. For the second year running we’re leading the drive to get our whole sector focused on aiming high and delivering results.
“This project will show the sector at our best; working innovatively together to encourage technological innovation that improves society, and building new video resources that will help us all.”
The Impact Challenges were first launched a year ago and have now been run in India, Brazil and the San Francisco Bay Area, investing more than £10m and hundreds of hours of mentoring in charities that have already impacted on millions of lives.
Last Summer Google opened up its full range of services for nonprofits to charities in England and Wales, two years after they began offering it in the US. Charities based in Scotland, and just registered with the OSCR, and those based in Northern Ireland, are still not eligible to apply for the scheme.