From Oman to Kenya, Meet Prince William's Earthshot Prize Winners

PEOPLE chatted exclusively with this year's changemakers restoring our land, air and sea

Earthshot Prize winners - The Indigenous Women of The Great Barrier Reef

Congratulations are in order for the Earthshot Prize winners!

Prince William and Kate Middleton were the guests of honor at the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards on Friday night in Boston, the celebratory ceremony for the Prince of Wales' environmental prize incentivizing the next generation of change. Fifteen finalists were chosen from a thousand entries to revive and repair the land, air and sea, with the five winners announced on stage by celebrity presenters — including Princess Kate!

PEOPLE exclusively spoke with the winners — who will all receive £1 million ($1.2 million) and support to scale their solutions to size — after the life-changing night, who all voiced gratitude to Prince William, 40, for launching the prize in the first place. The Prince of Wales created the contest in 2020 to promote impactful approaches to the world's most pressing environmental challenges, with plans to award Earthshot Prizes in the five flagship categories until 2030.

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Protect and Restore Nature

This year's Protect and Restore Nature honor went to Kheyti, a startup based in India that provides farmers with Greenhouse-in-a-Box kits and related training to yield fruitful harvests with fewer pesticides amid a changing climate.

The company plans to use its Earthshot earnings to reach a million farmers through the next decade, develop a more affordable product, expand staff and improve technology.

Kheyti Founder, Kaushik Kappagantulu with his Earthshot Prize

"Kheyti's dream is not one that can be achieved alone, the challenges of climate change in agriculture are not those that can be solved alone. The Earthshot Prize will help us in our efforts to ignite a smart farmer revolution!" Kaushik Kappagantulu, co-Founder and CEO, tells PEOPLE.

Reviving Our Oceans

Earthshot Prize winners - The Indigenous Women of The Great Barrier Reef

The Reviving Our Oceans award was given to the Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef, a network of indigenous women trained as rangers to patrol and protect the critical Queensland reef. The women weave 60,000 years of traditional knowledge with the latest scientific advances, and will use the Earthshot boost to start a new education program for girls, and explore opportunities to launch more female-led First Nations conservation programs around the world.

If she could share a message with Prince William, managing director Larissa Hale tells PEOPLE she would "thank him for using his platform to shine a light on all the amazing people trying to repair our planet in the face of climate change."

Build a Waste-Free World

Notpla co-founders Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Paslier

The Build a Waste-Free World prize went to Notpla, a seaweed and plant-based alternative to single-use plastic packaging designed to reduce landfill and ocean waste. The Earthshot honor will enable the U.K. company to seriously scale, invest in research and development, hire more scientists and buy more machinery.

"Most importantly, the Earthshot Prize team is offering us some tailored support and will introduce us to a vast network of businesses, philanthropists and investors, that should boost scaling our commercialization," Pierre Paslier, co-founder and co-CEO, tells PEOPLE of what the Earthshot support means.

On the new buzz from the Earthshot attention, he added, "The past 24 hours have been an absolute whirlwind, major groups have reached out and so many restaurants up and down the country have been buying our plastic-free takeaway boxes from our website!"

Clean Our Air

Charlot Magayi, Founder of Mukuru Clean Stoves with her daughter

The Clean Our Air Earthshot was awarded to Mukuru Clean Stoves, a female-founded company in Kenya that distributes cleaner-burning stoves for a safer and more sustainable alternative to charcoal. Charlot Magayi, founder and CEO, tells PEOPLE that Mukuru will use the Earthshot money to bring safer stoves to over a million homes within the next 12 months, complete production on a new facility and research hub, and tap into the Earthshot network to reach new global markets.

"The announcement has brought a lot of attention to the business with people calling looking to purchase stoves, emailing to partner with us," Magayi tells PEOPLE of how her life has changed since the Earthshot win. "Mukuru team is more motivated than ever to help clean our air within the households that need them the most."

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Fix Our Climate

44.01 Founders celebrate their Win

The Fix Our Climate prize went to 44.01, an Oman-based company that pulls CO2 from the air through accelerated peridotite mineralization, safely and permanently pulling it from the atmosphere. According to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eliminating CO2 is essential in the fight against global warming.

If he could share a message with Prince William, founder Talal Hasan tells PEOPLE he would "commend him on the concept of The Earthshot Prize and let him know how unique of an offering it is and how it has directly helped us to eliminate CO2."

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