Voting Opens for the Seventh BBC World Challenge Competition

Thu, 29 Sep 2011 13:11

On Monday 26 September voting will open for World Challenge 2011, an annual competition run by BBC World News and Newsweek in association with Shell, which highlights and rewards small enterprising and innovative businesses bringing economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities around the world.

Votes can be cast online at from 26 September until midnight on 11 November 2011 when voting closes. Winners will be announced at an award ceremony in The Netherlands, which will air on BBC World News on 3 December 2011.  The winning project will receive a US$20,000 grant from Shell, while two runners up will each receive US$10,000 to help develop their initiatives. Please make sure you pay attention to the term and conditions of voting by visiting:

This years 12 finalists, chosen from nearly 1000 nominations, will be profiled in six 22-minute programmes on BBC World News television and a series of six advertorials in Newsweek including (alphabetically by country):

Cambodia: In the Bag (TX 29 October)
The first plastic bag recycling facility in Cambodia, Funky Junk makes fashion accessories and home goods out of woven plastic bags, in the process earning a decent income for poor rural communities.

Chile: Tech Crunch (TX 15 October)
Recycla is the first and only electronic waste recycling social enterprise in Latin America. The company aims to tackle the problem of the eight million mobile phones and one million computers that are discarded in Chile annually. They are dismantled and separated into recyclable materials and toxic waste that can be safely disposed of.

Egypt: A New Leaf (TX 8 October)
El Nafeza was established in 2007 to revive traditional papermaking in Egypt - partly as a way of getting rid of agricultural wastes that are typically burned, resulting in choking black clouds. El Nafeza organises workshops in papermaking for disadvantaged young people (80 to 90 percent of its employees are deaf and mute).

India: Trash to Gas (TX 29 October)
NGO Hand in Hand set up a project with local people to collect food waste from households, hotels and restaurants, which is turned into biogas and used to generate electricity via a 10kW power station. The project now consumes about a ton of food waste every day - waste that would once have found its way into landfill.

Japan: Senior Service (TX 5 November)
Shunran-no-Sato was set up by a group of elderly people to help keep their village alive. The project offers ecotourism with guestrooms in the villagers' own homes and an opportunity to take part in traditional agricultural activities. It now caters for nearly 5,000 visitors a year as young urbanites come back to the country to rediscover their traditional culture and reconnect with the land outside the megacities.

Kenya: Cafe Society (TX 22 October)
Vava Coffee produces coffee in a way that is both ethical and environmentally friendly. The company works with small farmers in Kenya to boost yield and income. It also employs street kids and people suffering from AIDS in the slums of Nairobi to make packaging from recycled waste.

Mongolia: Changing Spots (TX 22 October)
Mongolia's Snow Leopard Enterprises is an income-generation project that helps people living in poverty increase their standard of living, and at the same time protect their local ecosystems. They provide women across Central Asia with the training and equipment necessary to produce hand-made felt and other wool products, which are sold internationally through the Snow Leopard Trust and other venues. This provides the herding communities with an alternative income and helps prevent the poaching of endangered snow leopards.

Nepal: Herbal Remedy (TX 8 October)
The protected area of Shiva Community Forest is home to endangered species including tigers, Asian elephants and the Indian rhino. Local people have to contend with crop destruction by these wild species. Now, Shiv Forestry has found a non-lethal way to keep rhinos away from farms by planting chamomile and mint. Rhinos hate the smell of these pungent plants, which are also good cash crops for rural communities, especially when marketed by Shiv Forestry as wildlife saving products.

Paraguay: Jungle Brew (TX 1 October)
Guayaki Yerba Mate is a Fair Trade organic company producing the traditional South American Mate tea drink made from a subspecies of holly plant. Consumed across the continent the plant has a high caffeine content. Using an innovative business model that directly links customers' purchases to farming communities, Guayaki Yerba Mate believes they have all the ingredients for their own brand of market-driven conservation.

UK: Bangers and Cash (TX 1 October)
Giveacar is a social enterprise that raises money for charity by scrapping or selling unwanted cars. The company picks up the vehicles for free and uses eco-friendly recycling facilities to break them down into raw materials. Cars worth more than their scrap value are sold at auction. The car owner then chooses which charity the money should go to.

Uganda: A Burning Concern (TX 15 October)
Designed by a Ugandan entrepreneur, UgaStoves have a layer of clay insulation that greatly improves fuel efficiency. By mass-producing the stoves for domestic and commercial use, the company is reducing both deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, with a claimed annual saving of one ton of carbon emissions for every stove.

USA: Vertigo Farming (TX 5 November)
Brooklyn Grange Garden is at the forefront of urban agriculture in the United States. Set up by four friends on an half hectare of rooftop in Brooklyn, New York, the garden grows organic produce that is sold to local restaurants and delis foodies across Manhattan. Business is growing quickly, with a new space already under construction and a booming demand for rooftop vegetables, honey and eggs.

The programmes broadcast on BBC World News at the following times (all GMT): Saturday: 1-22 October at 0130, 0830, 2130 and 29 October-5 November at 0130 and 0830: Sunday: 2-23 October at 1430 and 30 October-6 November at 1430 and 2130

Fans can give comment and find exclusive content on the Facebook page via and the You Tube channel and/or follow the latest competition news on Twitter via @WorldChallenge.

Latest updates

Mongolian Snow Leopards Enterprises wins World Challenge 2011

Snow Leopard Enterprises, from Mongolia, has been named as the winner of this year's World Challenge competition, taking the first prize of a $20,000 grant from Shell to help develop their initiative.

World Challenge voting is now closed

Watch this space to find out who has won this year's prizes and for information about the broadcast of the awards ceremony and a special Down to Business live pitching event.

World Challenge episodes now available online - Votes close this Friday

All 12 World Challenge videos are now available on YouTube for those still to make up their minds who to choose before voting closes this Friday.

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