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2012 Rolex Awards for Enterprise open for entries

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The Rolex watch company of Geneva has announced the opening of applications to the 2012 Rolex Awards for Enterprise. For more than three decades, this international philanthropic programme has honoured and supported pioneering individuals whose projects benefit their communities and the wider world.
Five Laureates will be selected by an independent Jury of experts who will meet early in 2012. The Laureates will each receive US$100 000 (R700 000) to advance their projects and gain worldwide recognition of their work through international publicity and advertising campaigns, as well as a gold Rolex chronometer.

South Africa has had a number of Laureates and Associate Laureates over the years. The most recent Laureate was Andrew Muir, a conservationist from the Eastern Cape who was recognised in 2008 and who was selected for his work with Aids orphans. He trains youngsters to work in the ecotourism and hospitality industries and offers hope to young people who previously had no hope at all.

Other Laureates include Lindy Rodwell who was recognised for her work with the highly endangered wattled crane and Louis Lieberman who devised a unique hand-held computer for Bushmen to use when they were tracking game, so that records could be kept to aid in conservation.

Looking for innovators

"As ever, we are seeking forward-looking men and women who are tackling the challenges of our age and who have innovative projects," said Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex. "We look forward to receiving many wonderful proposals from around the world."

The Rolex Awards are open to anyone of any age or nationality whose groundbreaking projects are helping to expand the knowledge of our world and improve the quality of life on the planet and the outlook for humankind. These projects are grouped broadly in the areas of science and health; applied technology; exploration and discovery; the environment; and cultural heritage.

In addition to demonstrating an exceptional spirit of enterprise, candidates must put forward projects that have a clear purpose, are original and have a significant impact.

Application procedure

For the first time, candidates for the Rolex Awards will be able to submit their project ideas in a short online pre-application. The deadline for pre-applications is 31 May 2011.

Only pre-applicants whose projects best meet the selection criteria will be chosen by Rolex for further consideration and will be invited to submit a full application.

Prospective entrants can apply to the 2012 Rolex Awards on, where they will find all relevant documents.

As in previous series, the 2012 Jury may decide to grant other prizes to applicants worthy of support. The amount of these prizes will be determined at the discretion of the Jury.

The Awards for Enterprise and the Young Laureates Programme

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were created in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster chronometer, the world's first waterproof watch. Since then, Rolex has presented 115 monetary awards to individuals from 42 countries, implementing projects in more than 60 countries. Typically, more than 1500 people apply to each series.

In 2009, Rolex launched the Young Laureates Programme, a new initiative of the Rolex Awards that funds young pioneers (ages 18-30) and their innovative projects. The programme rewards bright new ideas and encourages the next generation to meet the challenges of the future. The original Rolex Awards and the Young Laureates Programme alternate every two years.

For more information on the 2012 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, visit the Rolex Awards website on