Here Are the Five Laureates of the 2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise

A catalyst to spark.
2023 Rolex Awards Laureate Liu Shaochuang uses remote sensing, camera traps and hoof prints to track which areas the wild camels travel through. © Rolex/Liu Xiaoxue

The Rolex Awards were established in 1976 by André J. Heiniger, then Chief Executive Officer of Rolex, to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch. What initially intended to be a one-off celebration drew such international attention that Rolex transformed the Awards into a biennial programme that has, in 48 years since its creation, supported 160 Laureates, whose projects have had significant impacts across various fields, all with the common goal of improving life and safeguarding our planet.

This year, Rolex announces its 2023 Laureates of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, who, through their projects, aim to enhance our understanding of the world, preserve the environment, help conserve habitats and species, and improve human well-being. The winners are chosen by a panel of ten experts and leaders in their respective fields, such as Dr Antonio Arantes, a specialist in cultural heritage recognised for his contributions to Brazilian anthropology; Dr Helen Czerski, a physicist, oceanographer, and award-winning communicator; and Dr Katherine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and 2019 United Nations’ Champion of the Earth, among others. Candidates are evaluated based on the originality and impact of their work, not only for the present but also for future generation—a spirit of enterprise is equally vital.

Presenting the 2023 Laureates

Constantino Aucca Chutas

2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, rolex Laureate, Constantino Aucca Chutas,  Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) in Peru
2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate Constantino Aucca Chutas on the reforestation day near Quishuarani, Peru, where around 25,000 trees were planted in 3 hours by the local community. © Rolex/Sofia Lopez Mañan

Constantino Aucca Chutas emerges as a biologist pioneering the expansion of his community-centric initiative for forest ecosystem restoration and protection amidst the lofty peaks of the Andes. His journey began with establishing Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) in 2000 and co-founding Acción Andina in 2018. Over the years, his endeavours have led to planting a remarkable 4.5 million trees, active involvement from over 60 local communities, and establishing 16 protected areas spanning the mountainous landscapes of Peru and neighbouring high Andean territories.

The mountainous region around the village of Quishuarani, 4,800 metres above sea level, is the location for the Asociacion de los Ecosistemas Andinos reforestation day where they planted 25,000 key native trees. © Rolex/Sofia Lopez Mañan

Beth Koigi

Beth Koigi, a dynamic Kenyan social entrepreneur, is revolutionising access to clean water resources for 3,000 individuals across 10 communities. Through her innovative venture founded in 2017, she deploys solar-powered generators that extract water from the air. These generators have been instrumental in providing over 200,000 litres of clean water each month to more than 1,900 people. The potential impact of Koigi’s groundbreaking technology cannot be overstated. In her homeland of Kenya, where half the population lack access to clean drinking water, her solution holds immense promise—considering the projections from the UN that half the world’s population could face high water stress by 2030.

Inza Koné

Inza Koné, a dedicated primatologist, is on a mission to preserve a biodiverse forest in Côte d’Ivoire while ensuring the safety of its endangered fauna and alleviating poverty within the region. Through years of collaboration with local communities, Koné successfully advocated for the Tanoé-Ehy Forest to be designated as a community-managed natural reserve in 2021. With the support of The Rolex Awards,
Koné aims to further his conservation efforts, nurturing the exceptional biodiversity of the forest, bolstering community management initiatives, and promoting sustainable livelihoods for the people of the region.

Denica Riadini-Flesc

rolex enterprise awards 2023, sukkhacitta, Denica Riadini-Flesch, Riadini-Flesch
Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate Denica Riadini-Flesch talking to women at one of SukkhaCitta’s craft schools. Riadini-Flesch is passionate about empowering women in rural Indonesia by giving them access to education and equipping them with the skills they need to earn a living wage.
© Rolex/Sébastien Agnetti

Denica Riadini-Flesch, a visionary social entrepreneur, is embarking on a journey to broaden the scope of her regenerative farm-to-closet clothing supply chain. Through this endeavour, she seeks to not only fortify women’s empowerment but also safeguard the rich tapestry of local Indonesian cultures. Transitioning from a flourishing academic career as an economist, Riadini-Flesch established SukkhaCitta, a pioneering venture that collaborates with rural craftswomen across Indonesia. Her mission? To equip these artisans with essential business acumen, impart environmental stewardship education, and connect them with customers spanning 32 countries.

Liu Shaochuang

2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate Liu Shaochuang is a Chinese remote sensing specialist on a mission to save one of Asia’s last large wild animals, the wild camel. © Rolex/Liu Xiaoxue

Liu Shaochuang, an accomplished remote sensing specialist, goes on a vital mission to study the habitats
of wild camels, and to establish two new conservation reserves to protect the dwindling populations of these majestic creatures. Leveraging his profound scientific expertise, honed through his pivotal contributions to the development of China’s Lunar and Mars rovers, Liu will employ satellite tracking technology to monitor the movements of wild camels across the expansive Gobi Desert regions of China and Mongolia. Through his innovative approach, he hopes to lay the groundwork for the future conservation of these iconic animals.