2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise

The Geneva-based company has announced the winners of the 2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise. These five pioneers from different backgrounds all share the same ambition for their respective projects: to help improve lives and protect the planet for future generations.

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were set up in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster. Through the programme, the company supports exceptional individuals with innovative projects that improve our knowledge of the world, protect the environment, help preserve habitats and species and improve human well-being.

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise are part of the brand’s Perpetual Planet Initiative and embody the initiative’s intricate values. For nearly a century, Rolex has been an active supporter of pioneering explorers and individuals who have pushed back the boundaries of human endeavour to shed light on the natural world. The brand reinforced its longstanding commitment to the planet by launching the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative in 2019. The initiative supports individuals and organizations that use science and technology to understand the world’s environmental challenges and devise solutions that will restore balance to the ecosystems.

The 2023 Laureates have been selected by a panel of ten world-renowned experts and leaders in their field. From providing clean water in Kenya to protecting the mountainous forests of the Andes, the Laureates and their respective projects highlight the brand’s commitment to a Perpetual Planet.

Constantino Aucca Chutas
The biologist will be scaling up his community-centred forest ecosystem restoration and protection programme in the high Andes. He founded Asociacón de Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) in 2000 before co-founding Acción Andina in 2018 and has planted 4.5 million trees, engaged more than 60 local communities, as well as creating 16 protected areas in the mountains across Peru and other high Andean countries.

Beth Koigi
The young Kenyan social entrepreneur will be providing solar-powered generators harvesting water from air to 3,000 people in 10 communities who are in need of clean water resources. Since co-founding her start-up in 2017, Koigi’s atmospheric water generators have been producing over 200,000 litres of clean water per month to over 1,900 people. The potential impact of this innovative technology is enormous; in Koigi’s native Kenya half the population lack access to clean drinking water while, according to the UN, half the world’s population could be living in areas of high water stress by 2030.

Inza Koné
The primatologist will be protecting a richly biodiverse forest in Côte d’Ivoire while safeguarding its endangered fauna and reducing poverty in the area. After years of work with people in the area, Koné’s efforts resulted in the Tanoé-Ehy Forest becoming a community-managed natural reserve in 2021. The Rolex Award will enable Koné to continue preserving its outstanding biodiversity, supporting community management and encouraging sustainable livelihoods for people in the region.

Denica Riadini-Flesch
The social entrepreneur will be expanding her regenerative farm-to-closet clothing supply chain, strengthening women’s empowerment and preserving local Indonesian cultures. After a successful academic career as an economist, Riadini-Flesch founded SukkhaCitta, working with rural craftswomen in Indonesia to provide them with business skills, environmental stewardship education, as well as customers in 32 countries.

Liu Shaochuang
The remote sensing specialist will be studying wild camels’ habitats in view of creating two new conservation reserves to save the last remaining wild herds. Drawing on his scientific expertise, having played a key role in developing China’s Lunar and Mars rovers, Liu Shaochuang will satellite track wild camels in the Gobi Desert regions of China and Mongolia to support their future conservation.

March 28, 2024