The international awards programme is delivered by Unilever in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). It rewards inspirational entrepreneurs aged 30 and under who have developed a product, service or application that helps make sustainable living commonplace.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “We created these awards for young people because they will be the guardians of sustainable development long into the future. I’m delighted that, in its second year, the Awards attracted 60 percent more entries than in the inaugural year, resulting in a very high calibre of semi-finalists and the seven truly impressive finalists we announce today. It is a strong signal that young entrepreneurs are really welcoming access to the right support to help them lead the development of entrepreneurial responses to a changing world.”
The seven finalists are:
Jackie Stenson, Essmart: Helping villagers in rural India access life-improving products like affordable solar lanterns and non-electric water filters.
Alloysius Attah, Farmerline: A mobile communications tool that provides agronomic advice and weather forecasts by sending voice messages in local languages to smallholder farmers in Ghana.
Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup: Working to develop a feasible method to clean up the millions of tons of plastic that pollute the oceans
Katerina Kimmorley, Pollinate Energy: Setting up networks of micro-entrepreneurs to distribute sustainable technologies (like solar-lights and clean cookstoves) on payment plans to India's urban poor.
Daniel Yu, Reliefwatch: Simple software helping medical clinics operated by multi-national NGOs in the developing world to digitise and manage inventory records via automated voice calls from feature phones
Charles Batte, Tree Adoption Uganda: Helping young entrepreneurs set up businesses by providing mentoring and training funded by trees planted by the entrepreneurs themselves which are sold on to companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Mark Boots, VOTO Mobile: A voice-based mobile platform helping the world’s poorest people feedback to the organisations who serve them.
The finalists were selected from 816 entries received on the Ashoka Changemakers platform hailing from 88 countries. Going through to the next stage of the competition involves a week-long trip to the UK in January 2015 to participate in an immersive accelerator programme at the University of Cambridge. The accelerator programme helps build the entrepreneurs’ business capabilities and covers pitching, growing a successful team, securing finance, effective communications and leadership.
At the end of the accelerator, finalists travel to London to pitch their businesses to a panel of experts, entrepreneurs and leaders from business and sustainability. The panel choose an overall winner who will be awarded with HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize at a prestigious dinner at the Guildhall on 27 January 2015.
Polly Courtice, CISL Director said: “In its second year, the Awards have attracted an outstanding diversity of applications from ground-breaking leaders across the world. We look forward to welcoming our finalists to Cambridge and supporting this vibrant new network of young entrepreneurs for change.” The winner receives funding support of €50,000 and the remaining six finalists €10,000. All also participate in a twelve month mentoring programme which aims to harness the diverse expertise, scale and influence of Unilever and CISL to support finalists to scale their business’ revenue and impact and hone their entrepreneurial skills.
About University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges.
Capitalising on the world-class, multidisciplinary strengths of the University of Cambridge, CISL deepens leaders’ insight and understanding through its executive programmes, builds deep, strategic engagement with leadership companies, and creates opportunities for collaborative enquiry and action through its business platforms.
Over 25 years, CISL have developed a leadership network with 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 CISL and has inspired and supported many of the institute’s initiatives.
About Ashoka Changemakers
Ashoka Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers.com is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker.