2016 may have been a year of bad news for many, but last November proved to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel with the 2016 Rolex Awards for Enterprise recognizing those who took matters into their own hands and used their expertise to change the world. The 10 winners include an ophthalmologist whose smartphone app is revolutionizing eye care in sub-Saharan Africa, a biomedical engineer creating robotic suits to help physically impaired people walk without assistance, and even a 29-year-old creating an online platform to crowdsource a sign language database. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Since 1976, Rolex has honored five laureates who fall out of the typical mold and often have limited access to traditional funding. In 2010, Rolex added a series of awards for Young Laureates between the ages of 18 and 30 years old, to highlight and encourage the next generation of shakers and movers. “We are celebrating a very significant occasion in the history of the Awards and in the history of Rolex,” says Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex.
“Forty years ago the company initiated the Rolex Awards to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster in a manner that reflected the spirit of enterprise on which the company was founded,” she continues. “What better place to pay tribute to this enterprising spirit and the pioneering work of the 10 Rolex Awards winners than a city–Los Angeles–that embraces diversity and innovation?”