Three questions to Ulrike Wahl, MD of the Siemens Stiftung

July 19, 2012

Ms. Wahl, what are the selection criteria for the “empowering people. Award”?

Ulrike Wahl: All submissions will be assessed by experienced specialists whose expertise lies in the areas of technology and development cooperation. The assessment will take place according to several criteria. The product or solution must have the potential to solve a problem in the area of basic supplies and services. It has to be technically feasible in terms of resource requirements, functionality, and reliability under consideration of the respective prevailing local conditions. We will examine the (social) business concept under the aspects of creating jobs and replicability as well as the future viability of the business idea in terms of financial aspects. And – if relevant for the submission – we will also evaluate the entry according to ecological aspects.

Can you give an example of such as solution?

Ulrike Wahl: The Siemens Stiftung is already implementing various solutions in our projects in Africa and Latin America. One of them is the construction of Water-Energy Hubs in Kenya. The WE!Hubs provide people in the more remote regions of Kenya with clean drinking water and ensure an affordable energy supply. The Hubs are solar-operated and work independent of grid-connection, ensuring a reliable and environmentally friendly supply. For a small fee, people can rent portable lanterns, lamps and batteries, recharge their mobile phones or buy clean drinking water at affordable prices. Beyond this, the WE!Hubs offer entrepreneurial opportunities, educational programs as well as chances for further income. Established as a social business, all profits of the WE!Hubs are exclusively reinvested in the expansion of the business in order to ensure its financial sustainability as well as additional charitable activities.

What kind of prizes will be awarded and is the awarding of prizes linked to certain conditions?

Ulrike Wahl: The Siemens Stiftung has a total of 200,000 EUR at its disposal to be awarded to the best 23 entries. This prize money will be divided with the 1st prize winner receiving €50,000, the 2nd prize winner receiving €30,000 and the 3rd prize winner being awarded €20,000. Besides this we have twenty more prizes of €5,000 each. And yes, the prize money must be used to either further develop the solutions and products submitted or aid their implementation in projects. The Siemens Stiftung will have to receive written confirmation of this within one year of the prize being awarded. This gives the winners sufficient time to implement worthwhile measures.

Vineeta Manglani
Vineeta Manglani

Vineeta Manglani is Unit Director at the PR agency Sympra and responsible for international communication for the “empowering people. Award”. Vineeta was born in London and has been living and working in Germany for 21 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in German and Political Studies and a diploma in Journalism from the London School of Journalism.

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