Unilever: Seeking Young Entrepreneurs with Sustainable Ideas to Change the World

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Seeking Young Entrepreneurs with sustainable ideas to change the world

MUMBAI:  Building on the success of the 2013 Awards, Unilever is once again inviting young people to come up with practical and innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges and enter them in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards.

€200,000 in financial and mentoring support

Unilever logoOpen to anyone aged 30 or under, Unilever is looking for scalable and sustainable products, services or applications that reduce environmental impacts,  improve health and well-being or enhance livelihoods through changes in practices or behaviours.

The Awards, run in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and in collaboration with Ashoka, offer seven young people a total of more than €200,000 in financial support and individually tailored mentoring. The overall winner also receives the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize.

All seven finalists take part in an online development programme and then participate in a two-day accelerator workshop at Cambridge University, UK, where they receive expert help and professional guidance to help them develop their ideas.

The Awards are hosted online at Ashoka Changemakers, a community that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other.  Applications must be submitted by midnight (BST) on 1 August 2014 and finalists will be announced in October 2014. The Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging takes place in January 2015.

First edition of the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards

Last year over 500 young entrepreneurs from more than 90 countries entered the Awards. Winning projects ranged from a mobile data and messaging system that tracks water supply and optimises use in India, to low-cost chicken-feed made from waste mango seed in Nigeria; and from water-less toilets in rural Peru to a work-for-education swap scheme in Nepal, whereby the children of low-income farm workers receive education in return for their parents donating their labour to a farming collective.

The overall winner – who won €50,000 and the HRH The Prince of Wales Prize – was Gamal Albinsaid, a 24 year old Indonesian, who addressed two sustainability challenges with one idea: converting the value in household waste into health insurance for low income families. This inspiring initiative is now being turned into a repeatable model in communities throughout Indonesia.

Anu Sridharan, 26 from Bangalore, India who was declared as one of the Runners Up of the first Unilever Sustainable Young Entrepreneurs Awards  runs an organisation called Next Drop, a social enterprise which provides accurate and reliable information about water delivery in regions with intermittent supply.

Anu was one of the seven finalists, who had been selected from a pool of 510 applicants from 90 countries. She is the founder of NextDrop, an NGO based in Bangalore that works in the area of water use optimization and leakage tracking via a real time data and messaging system.

As one of the Runners Up, Anu wins €10.000 in financial support & a mentoring package for her social venture.

Commenting on the Awards, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “I believe that youth hold the key to unlocking solutions to many of the challenges our planet faces and last year’s finalists are proof of this. Young people will soon represent 50 percent of the population in developing and emerging countries, but they are 100 percent of the future, so it’s absolutely vital we continue to enrol them in the task of making sustainable living commonplace and invest in their ideas. ”

Polly Courtice, LVO, Director of CISL, said: “The first year of the Unilever awards highlighted the creativity and entrepreneurial dynamism of young people across the world in tackling critical sustainability issues.  We are delighted to bring the research insight of the Cambridge community together with our worldwide network of business leaders, to support these awards in encouraging the innovation and leadership we so urgently need.”

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