TECH
15/05/2014 10:56 BST | Updated 15/05/2014 11:59 BST

Google Impact Challenge: £3.2 Million Fund For Charities With Big Ideas (And Monkeys)

Technology giant Google is offering UK charities £3.2 million in exchange for innovative ideas, in a new competition.

The Google Impact Challenge will see a panel of judges, made up of industry experts including businessman and Dragons' Den star Peter Jones, examine entries from not-for-profit firms from around the UK that suggest ways technology can be used to improve lives.

The top four entries in the challenge will each receive a £500,000 grant as well as assistance and mentoring from Google and challenge sponsor Nesta, an innovation charity.

Charities can apply at Google's website.

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Above: Wales and Jones with last year's winner, the Zoological Society of London's next generation camera traps, equipped with automated sensors, to better protect threatened wildlife.

Jones, who is estimated to be worth more than £470 million through his various entrepreneurial ventures, said: "Google's Impact Challenge is an incredible initiative and something I encourage charities all over the UK to enter.

"The successful businesses I like to invest in create impact through vision and ambition.

If we can see some of these qualities in these Challenge entries, the results could be massive. I've always said that if you're going to dream, then dream big."

The judging panel also includes the inventor of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, broadcaster and director of Red Nose Day Emma Freud, Nesta's Innovation Lab executive director Helen Goulden and Google's Matt Brittin and Jacquelline Fuller.

The challenge will also include a public vote.

Brittin, Google's vice president for northern and central Europe, said: "At Google, we get very excited by innovations that make people's lives better.

"The Impact Challenge gives us the chance to focus that passion on the dynamic British non-profit community.

"Charitable organisations and modern technology both have the power to transform lives, so I'd encourage all UK charities to think big and apply."

This is the second year Google has run the event, with winners last year including a charity bringing solar power to Africa and another that invites schoolchildren to help create problem-solving apps.

The challenge was officially launched at London Zoo, with entries being accepted until June 6, and the 10 finalists will be announced on July 21.

Last year's winners included Solar Aid, Integrity Action, CDI Apps for Good and The Zoological Society of London. Check out their work in the slideshow below.