An enterprising initiative: how Rolex helps bright minds change the world
For nearly 50 years, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise have supported the individuals and organisations that make our planet a better place
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were started almost 50 years ago and are a springboard of support for bright minds that want to change the world.
They form part of the Rolex Perpetual Planet initiative that fosters scientific exploration, inquiry, invention and outreach in the ongoing effort to make our planet perpetual.
In this time, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise has fostered a great legacy and built an extended family of laureates all over the world.
All great things have small beginnings, and the Rolex Awards for Enterprise goes all the way back to 1976, when Rolex was looking for a way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster.
Rolex took inspiration from its founder Hans Wilsdorf. Innovation, excellence, imagination and passion were the guiding principles behind the development of the Rolex watches that Wilsdorf sent with explorers to the tops of mountains and the bottom of the ocean, so what better way to mark this milestone than to create an award that acknowledged these attributes?
The Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative embraces the Rolex Awards for Enterprise. This progressive platform was launched in 2019 and aims to support individuals and organisations that make our planet a better place for the plants, animals and people that inhabit it.
As humanity’s effects on the earth have become impossible to ignore, the Rolex Perpetual Planet initiative supports scientists, researchers and explorers whose work prioritises preservation and education.
In addition to the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, the initiative includes many partnerships, including one with the National Geographic Society to monitor weather patterns on Mount Everest, amongst other expeditions.
The Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative also includes a partnership with acclaimed oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue. There are also many other Perpetual Planet initiatives planned for now and the near future.
The most exciting thing about the Rolex Awards for Enterprise is that absolutely anybody can apply. Rolex responded to an obvious gap in corporate-sponsored philanthropy at the time, when individuals with innovative yet perhaps unorthodox ideas were sidelined by mainstream funding models.
Applicants are judged every two years by a panel of 10 jurors who are leaders in their respective fields. The panel is changed biennially, when a new batch of applications are considered and the final five laureates are due to be selected.
Jurors are all asked the same questions: Does the potential laureate have the drive and determination to make their project a reality, does the applicant’s idea offer a new answer to a problem, and have they considered how their initiative will benefit a wider community and the world?
The most exciting thing about the Rolex Awards for Enterprise is that absolutely anybody can apply
The 2021 Rolex Awards for Enterprise jury consisted of scientists, explorers, biologists, activists and entrepreneurs such as Meena Ganesh, Wanjira Mathai and Jon Paul Rodriguez, all of whom added their considerable experience and expertise to the final selection.
Each laureate receives a financial grant that enables them to continue their research and work, in addition to global publicity to raise awareness of the important contributions they are making.
All of this forms part of how the Rolex Perpetual Planet initiative is working to bring much-needed change to our world, to make our planet perpetual.
Navigate to Rolex.org to discover more. #PerpetualPlanet #RolexAwards