In February 2012, the Stone Family Foundation launched a new £100,000 Prize—the Stone Prize for innovation and entrepreneurship in water. After an extensive eight-month long process of looking for and short-listing down from 179 applications, the Foundation recently announced its winner—Dispenser for Safe Water—and found four other organisations to support outside of the Prize.
The Prize was a way for the Foundation to identify innovative, entrepreneurial and potentially scalable initiatives in the water sector, and help take them to the next level of their development. We looked for initiatives based in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia that are developing sustainable and effective services to get clean drinking water to people who need it. This could be: marketing and selling low-cost household purification drinking water, or using mobile phone technology to inform consumers about local water delivery.
We expected the prize winner to demonstrate the potential to have an impact—we weren’t looking for ideas that exist only on paper or in someone’s head, but ones which have been tested on the ground in some way. The key was that the winning organisation could show that its idea worked, and that it had the ambition and energy to take the initiative to the next stage.
The £100,000 Stone Prize was open to all organisations and individuals that met our criteria.
We hope that this prize will do more than simply finding and supporting initiatives with a potentially significant impact on people’s lives. We also want it to encourage people to talk about what innovation and entrepreneurship means in the water sector, and think about pioneering new ways to ensure everyone has access to safe, clean drinking water.