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The Economistís Social and Economic Innovation Award given to Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen for developing low-cost health devices for the worldís poor

Core Facts

Meet Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen S.A., as he accepts his award at The Economist’s Innovation Awards Ceremony in London on October 29th.

  • Half a century ago, Vestergaard Frandsen produced uniforms for hotel and supermarket workers. Today, he is recognised for turning social responsibility into his company’s core business by focusing its resources on solving some of the developing world’s greatest health problems. The Economist is delighted to announce Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen as the winner of this year’s Social and Economic Innovation Award.
  • The Global Malaria Action Plan estimates that 730m mosquito nets must be delivered worldwide to achieve its goal of near-zero deaths by 2015. European-based Vestergaard Frandsen S.A. has to date delivered 175m of its PermaNet 2.0, one of only two long-lasting mosquito nets worldwide that have a World Health Organisation Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) full recommendation. PermaNet 3.0 Combination Net was developed as a response to mosquitoes becoming resistant to insecticides, and it combines traditional insecticides with a synergist. This carries the WHOPES interim recommendation.
  • The company’s LifeStraw is a filter that makes dirty water safe to drink. It eliminates virtually all water-borne bacteria and viruses and helps save further lives—it only costs US$5 to produce and one straw provides nearly 700 litres of clean drinking water.
  • Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, along with the other 2009 Award Winners, will be recognised for turning innovative ideas into reality at The Economist’s Eighth Annual Innovation Awards Ceremony and Summit, held in London on October 29th & 30th. The Awards Ceremony takes place at London’s Science Museum on the night of October 29th and the Summit follows the day after at the Dorchester Hotel. This unique occasion is the only event of its kind focusing on the interface between innovation and business.
  • The Economist’s Eighth Annual Innovation Summit provides an opportunity for delegates to meet the greatest thinkers and doers of this world in an inspirational setting, take away content relevant to their business and hear from the 2009 Innovation Award winners. The full programme includes speakers such as Dr Joseph Adelegan, President of Green Globe Trust Founder and Cows to Kilowatts Partnership, and Dr Sergio Kapusta, Chief Scientist-Materials at Shell.
  • Journalists may request interviews and a place at The Economist’s Eighth Annual Innovation Awards Ceremony  (29th) at the Science Museum and Summit (30th) at The Dorchester by contacting the press team at Waggener Edstrom on + 44 (0)207 632 3900 or e-mail ecis@waggeneredstrom.com


Winner’s quote: Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen S.A.
“My involvement with this award began when I conceived of a campaign to offer bed nets for malaria prevention and water filters to prevent waterborne diseases as an incentive for participation in a voluntary HIV testing and counselling campaign, demonstrating that an integrated response to these humanitarian challenges is far more powerful than separate efforts. After fully funding the one-week campaign we built with our partners that reached 50,000 rural Kenyans, we oversaw scientific research documenting its scalability. Scientific papers will show the CarePack™ campaign can reach even larger numbers of people in a short period of time to maximise donor investments in global public health.”

Judge’s quote: Professor Andrea Pfeifer, CEO, AC Immune
“Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen is an audacious thinker guiding his company with a unique Humanitarian Entrepreneurship business model, whose ‘profit for a purpose’ approach has turned humanitarian responsibility into its core business. Mikkel innovates directly for the developing world and thinks of the user as a consumer and not a patient or victim. His disease control products and concepts have a tremendous impact in saving the lives of the poor and help revolutionising health management. His vision, work and positive business attitude make him an outstanding example of what The Economist’s Innovation Awards intend to recognise and encourage.”

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About The Economist (www.economist.com)
The Economist is published each Friday in the UK and is available from newsagents and on subscription. With four million readers from almost every country on the planet, and editorial offices on every continent, The Economist is truly a global publication. The paper includes sections on each international region, plus Science and Technology, Books and Arts, and the weekly obituary. For profiles of our journalists, please visit www.economist.com/mediadirectory/.

About The Economist Innovation Awards (www.economistinnovation.com)
The Economist was established in 1843 to take part in a "severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress". One of the chief ways in which intelligence presses forward is through innovation, which is now recognised as one of the most important contributors to economic growth. Innovation, in turn, depends on the creative individuals who dream up new ideas and turn them into reality. The Economist recognises these talented individuals through our annual Innovation Awards.

Tom Standage, The Economist’s Business Editor, talks about Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen’s winning entry:


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