Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award winners have been announced.
Four great ideas were named first place winners of the Powerful Answers Award, a multi-million dollar challenge that encourages entrepreneurs to provide innovative solutions in education, healthcare, sustainability and transportation.
The first place winners in each of the four main categories will each receive $1 million. Two additional winners in each category will receive $250,000 each for a total of $6 million in prize money from Verizon.
The million dollar winners in each category are:
Education: Sesame Enable
The Challenge: According to Sesame Enable, of the 5.6 million paralyzed people in the U.S., 150,000 are children who cannot move their hands.
The Powerful Solution: Sesame Enable has developed touch-free smartphone and tablet technology for children and adults for whom touch is not possible. The technology integrates with games and applications and allows those children access to educational opportunities previously inaccessible to them.
The Challenge: More than 120,000 people are on the waiting list for an organ donation. According to ORGANIZE, that translates to $42 billion in annual dialysis cost, which is expected to quadruple by 2030.
The Powerful Solution: ORGANIZE is creating a donation system fit for the 21st century, through increased points of entry and a coordinated approach to registration for a more modern U.S. organ donation program.
Sustainability: Eco-fuel Africa
The Challenge: According to Eco-fuel Africa, 2 billion people across the globe depend on dirty and expensive wood-based fuels. As a result, 2 billion tons of biomass are burned each year, leading to unsustainable levels of deforestation and CO2 emissions.
The Powerful Solution: Eco-fuel Africa has created "green" charcoal produced from agricultural waste that's 65 percent cheaper than charcoal from wood and burns clearer and longer than wood-based fuels.
Transportation: Vaxess Technologies
The Challenge: Each year, more than 2.4 million people die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, and more than 20 percent of children born each year do not receive proper immunization. This occurs because 97 percent of vaccines require cold storage between 2 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius, and a lack of cold-chain infrastructure limits this access
The Powerful Solution: Vaxess Technologies has created a soluble, silk-stabilized vaccine that can be shipped without refrigeration, and extend the global reach and access to vaccine products.