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Google’s Rs 12-crore question for social entrepreneurs

NEW DELHI: Internet search titan Google has launched its Google Impact Challenge in India, asking the country's non-profit organizations how they would use technology to tackle social problems in India and around the world. The four submissions judged as the best will each receive Rs 3 crore and technical assistance from Google to help make their project a reality. 
Applications to the competition open today and Indian non-profits are invited to apply online by 5th September at A team from Google will review applications and announce 10 finalists on October 21. The top 10 finalists will then be announced and the public will be able to cast a vote for their favourite projects. 
The final event, scheduled to take place on October 31, will be judged by a panel comprising Google board member Ram Shriram; Google's chief business officer, Nikesh Arora; Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving; Anu Aga, social worker and former chairperson, Thermax; and Jayant Sinha, managing director, Omidyar Network India Advisors, who will select three awardees. The fourth winner will be selected on the basis of online votes from the public. 
This is Google's first Challenge in India and only its second overall. The company annually gives away approximately $100 million in grants, $1 billion in free as well as discounted apps and ads, and 50,000 employee volunteer hours globally. In 2012, it launched the Global Impact Awards to support entrepreneurial non-profits with a tech idea for how to change the world. 
Previous awardees have developed projects ranging from technology that allowed under-privileged students to access maths and science education to real-time sensors that help ensure people have better access to clean water. 
Ram Shriram, judge and Google board member, said, "I've had the privilege of working with budding inventors for many years, and I know India's entrepreneurs are some of the biggest and boldest thinkers in the world. Today I'm thrilled to be part of a new tech-oriented, venture model that will support our country's amazing engine of social entrepreneurs, identifying and backing the best technology ideas to improve the lives of millions." 
Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director, Google India, added, "We are thrilled that the Google Impact Challenge is launching in India. It is a great opportunity for Indian non-profits to scale their efforts to help solve some of our toughest problems. India already has a rich tradition of corporate giving and hopefully the Challenge will galvanize social entrepreneurship in India."

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