The international awards programme is designed to inspire young people around the world to tackle environmental, social and health issues. The competition is for anyone aged 30 years or under, and the awards were looking for inspiring practical, tangible solutions to help make sustainable living commonplace.
Out of 510 entries from 90 countries, seven finalists were selected. The candidates submitted scalable and sustainable solutions in the form of products, services or applications that enable changes in practices or behaviours in, for example: sanitation and hygiene; water scarcity; greenhouse gases; waste; sustainable agriculture; and helping smallholder farmers.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “We are delighted to have had such a great number of entries, and of such high calibre from all corners of world. The entries provide proof – if it were needed – of a young generation of leaders eager to develop their fledgling businesses into ones that could genuinely make a big difference. Using our energy, innovation and resourcefulness to support them will, I believe, accelerate the development, multiply the difference and help create a brighter future for all.”
The seven finalists are:
- Garbage Clinical Insurance, Gamal Albinsaid, 24 (Indonesia) Waste recycling as a currency for primary health care
- Ilumexico, Manuel Wichers, 26 (Mexico) Carbon-free renewable energy from solar lamp network plus micro-loans
- Maya Universe Academy, Surya Karki, 23 (Nepal) Sustainable collective farming for rural Nepalese communities, with farm profits use to fund free schools
- NextDrop, Anu Sridharan, 26 (India) Water use optimization and leakage tracking via a real time data and messaging system
- Pigeonpea, Curt Bowen, 26 (Guatemala) Smallholder farmer crop solution for natural, sustainable soil enrichment and greater income
- Unfire, Blessing Mene, 26 (Nigeria) Low-cost chicken-feed (using waste mango seed) for smallholder farmers
- X Runner, Isabel Medem, 28 (Peru) Water-less toilets in slums; converted into saleable compost
Polly Courtice, CPSL Director said: “We have been immensely impressed by the strength and diversity of the applicants in this first year of the awards. We look forward to welcoming the finalists to Cambridge and starting to support a vibrant new network of young leaders for change.”
The finalists will take part in a four week development programme followed by an accelerator workshop in Cambridge, UK, at which expert help and professional guidance will be provided to help them develop their ideas. This will be followed by a pitch to a panel of judges in London, comprising entrepreneurs and leaders from business and sustainability.
The winner and finalists will attend a prestigious dinner in London on 30 January 2014 at which the HRH The Prince of Wales Prize will be presented. The Prize winner will receive €50.000 in financial support and individually tailored mentoring, the six finalists will each receive €10.000 in financial support and mentoring. Four runners-up will also receive an on-line development programme to help them further develop their ideas.
The 2014 programme will be launched early in the Summer of next year and young entrepreneurs willing to participate can register on the Ashoka Changemakers platform via www.changemakers.com/SustLiving
About the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL)
In 2013, the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) celebrates its 25th anniversary of working with leaders on the critical global challenges faced by business and society.
CPSL contributes to the University’s mission and leadership position in the field of sustainability via a mix of executive programmes, business platforms and strategic engagements, informed by world-class thinking and research. Its leadership network consists of more than 5,000 alumni from leading global organisations and an expert team of Fellows, Senior Associates and staff.
HRH The Prince of Wales is the patron of CPSL, which is a member of The Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which His Royal Highness is President.