Photo: Rolex/Sébastien Agnetti

In a world seeking a higher purpose, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise distinguish themselves by supporting individuals committed to making a meaningful difference. Since 1976, these awards have empowered pioneers across the globe to pursue projects that enhance life on Earth.

Initiated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise have evolved into a significant force for global good.

They support projects that extend human knowledge, protect cultural heritage, and ensure the well-being of our planet. It reflects Rolex’s commitment to a sustainable world, providing a stage for visionaries to share innovative solutions to pressing challenges.

Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate Denica Riadini-Flesch, CEO and founder of SukkhaCitta (Photo: Rolex/Sébastien Agnetti)

A love for SukkhaCitta

At the forefront of this narrative is Denica Riadini-Flesch, whose work with SukkhaCitta embodies the ethos of sustainable development through craftsmanship. What began as a response to the inequalities rural women face in Indonesia has now become a project that serves as a direct link between artisans and the global market, ensures fair wages, and fosters the revival of traditional crafts.

“The thing about SukkhaCitta is that it’s always been about a movement, not just a brand, so it’s important for me to bring the story to as wide an audience as possible. Rolex and its Perpetual Planet Initiative can help me do exactly that,” Riadini-Flesch explains. “These women have been invisible for far too long, and now their story is being heard; it’s being celebrated worldwide. That’s why the Rolex Award is so special for me.”

SukkhaCitta’s impact extends beyond economic empowerment. It champions environmental sustainability by using natural dyes from plants grown by their farmers as sustainable colourants for the fabrics and promotes practices that reduce waste. The initiative is a blueprint for the fashion industry, demonstrating how ethical practices can lead to real change in communities.

By focusing on the artisans’ well-being and the planet’s health, Riadini-Flesch’s approach challenges the status quo, offering a model for others to follow. 

A group of Ibus, elder craftswomen, preparing for the next cotton crop by cleaning and planting seeds in East Java, Indonesia. (Photo: Rolex/Sébastien Agnetti)

A global reach 

Riadini-Flesch’s story is part of a larger mosaic of innovators supported by the Rolex Awards for Enterprise. Constantino Aucca Chutas is an indigenous Peruvian biologist focusing on scaling up a community-centred forest ecosystem restoration and protection program in the high Andes. In Kenya, young social entrepreneur Beth Koigi is working on providing solar-powered condensation technology to communities needing clean water resources.

For Riadini-Flesch, the award represents a chance to elevate SukkhaCitta to new heights. “The Award will allow us to amplify our model by scaling physically across schools but also digitising our curriculum so we can reach more women across Indonesia,” she reflects.

To get this rare red, the Ibus dry-and-dye it by hand at least 20 times. (Photo: SukkhaCitta)

As we contemplate the future, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise continue to be a pivotal part of the journey for innovators. The hope is for these awards to inspire ongoing efforts towards sustainable development and social equity.

Through its support of visionaries like Riadini-Flesch, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise exemplify the profound impact of nurturing innovative ideas that aim to improve life on our planet. Riadini-Flesch’s work with SukkhaCitta illustrates the power of combining traditional skills with a modern entrepreneurial spirit to create sustainable change.