Halle Berry joins Chivas social enterprise party

The glitziest global social enterprise competition has seen Siam Organic take the lion’s share of the prize money.

Held in Los Angeles, the Chivas Venture final not only included Hollywood actor Halle Berry on the judging panel but Javier Bardem and Don Cheadle in the audience.

Pioneers Post first reported on Siam Organic in February of this year. The organisation works to increase the income of small scale Thai farmers, who are amongst the poorest in the world.

The farmers grow a relatively new strain of rice called Jasberry which is more nutritious than other grains. Because of this, Siam Organic can command a higher price for the product, increasing the wages of the farmers. 

As first place winners, Siam Organic received $400,000 following a pitching competition at the final. Reacting to the win, founder Peetachai Dejkraisak (pictured third from left above) said:

“I am so happy and grateful – this will have a massive impact. We have extremely limited resources, so to have funding like this from the Chivas Venture is just incredible. 

“It will fast-track our project by three or four years – and save me a lot of grey hair and sleepless nights!”

In second place, winning $200,000, was Nigerian social enterprise RecyclePoints, which seeks to address the challenge of the country’s waste problem. Each of the three remaining finalists took $50,000. 

Bioestibas in Colombia tackles the deforestation caused by pallet making by replacing the wood required with wood from stems discarded from the flower industry.

iDrop impacts the problem of plastic bottle waste in South Africa by making clean drinking water available in reusable containers through filtration stations in shops.  

Lastly, Intendu offers innovation in brain rehabilitation through motion controlled gaming.

This was the third year of the competition, which has a total of $1m in prize money to give away. A public vote determines where the first $250,000 goes, with Wearobot proving the most popular this year, winning $53,824.

Wearobot has developed an exoskeleton for those afflicted with mobility issues that costs 46 times less than those on the market currently.

The year long competition is funded by Pernod Ricard, which owns the Chivas whisky brand. Half year profits for Pernod Ricard in the second half of 2016 were reported as €924m.

Photo credit: Getty