The luxury Swiss watch maker continues to set an example for philanthropy worldwide.
Since September 1976, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise (RAE) – one of the world’s first major corporate awards programmes – have supported and empowered exceptional individuals who have the passion and commitment to improve life on the planet in five areas. Step forward science and health, applied technology, exploration and discovery, the environment and cultural heritage.
And to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the creation of this international philanthropic programme, Rolex is paying tribute to the Rolex Laureates, who have reshaped the world with their innovative thinking and dynamism. The celebration will culminate in a public awards ceremony taking place in Los Angeles on 15 November 2016.
The luxury watch maker set up the awards to mark 50 years of the historic achievement of the Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch. The objective was to create a programme that reflected the spirit of enterprise that first inspired Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, to create this iconic timepiece.
Since then, Rolex Laureates – ranging in age from 24 to 74 – have carried out projects benefiting millions of people in more than 60 countries.
They include an Australian biomedical engineer who has revolutionised the delivery of vaccines to save millions of lives in the developing world through a painless patch, a young entrepreneur in the Philippines who is helping impoverished women earn a decent living by turning scrap materials into sustainable products, a Bolivian social psychologist who has helped return stolen cultural artefacts to Andean communities and last, but by no means least, a Swiss ornithologist who went to study birds in Brazil and planted millions of trees.
Through the Awards for Enterprise, Rolex has shown itself to be a leader not just in watch making but also in terms of corporate social responsibility reputation. The salubrious Swiss watch maker has helped demonstrate that, contrary to public perception, luxury goods and philanthropy are compatible.
THE ROLEX AWARDS FOR ENTERPRISE IN NUMBERS
140 laureates have been selected
138 experts have served on the Jury
More than 33,000 people have applied from 190 countries
Winning projects have benefited millions of people in 60 countries
Youngest laureate 24
Oldest laureate 74
In recent years, a vast increase in women applicants – 39% in 2010 vs. 5% in 1976