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Google hands £2 million to UK charities as Impact Challenge 2014 finalists announced

Google Impact Challenge

Public vote will help decide one of four charities that will receive extra cash to fund their projects

Google has announced that ten charities will each receive £200,000 to develop innovative ideas that promise to change the world through technology. The Google Impact Challenge, which launched its fourth edition back in May, is judged by a panel of experts including businessman and Dragons Dan star Peter Jones and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

A wide range of ideas have been shortlisted for this year’s prize, including a project from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to fight malaria through the use of acoustic sensors and a Centrepoint initiative to tackle youth homelessness through data analysis.

The ten shortlisted ideas will be whittled down to four finalists, with an increased £500,000 grant up for grabs. Voting is now open to the public with the finalists being announced at Google’s UK headquarters on 31 July.

Dragon Peter Jones, one of the Impact Challenge judges praised the quality of the entries:

“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.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the ten shortlisted entries, he praised the quality of the entries and their use of technology to solve real world problems.

“These are non-profits doing great things that have a real impact on society.”

Three of the £500,000 winning grand finalists will be decided by a panel of judges with the public vote deciding the other project that will receive the extra cash. All ten shortlisted entries will receive mentoring and training from both Google and innovation charity Nesta to help them finish their projects.

Other projects shortlisted include a project from Cafédirect to connect smallhold coffee farmers in the developing world with access to agricultural information and an online tool created by Relate to help resolve family disputes.

More information on all the shortlisted entries is available on the Google Impact Challenge website, with voting open until 30 July.

Helen Goulding from supporting charity Nesta said that all the entrants had shown an “insane appetite for innovation”, adding that they were using technology to “address really crunchy, hard challenges”.

The first Google Impact challenge launched in the UK back in 2013 with versions appearing in India, Brazil and San Francisco. The 2014 edition returned to the UK, with Google also announcing an Australia version.

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