FMCG giant Unilever is once again putting out a call for practical ideas from young entrepreneurs to some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges – back for the second year, the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards is seeking scalable and sustainable products, services or applications that reduce environmental impact, improve health and well-being or enhance livelihoods through changes in practices or behaviors.
Organized in partnership with Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and in collaboration with Ashoka, the competition – open to anyone aged 30 or younger – offers young entrepreneurs over SGD 338,000 in financial and mentoring support, with the overall winner landing the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize. Seven finalists will be chosen to participate in an online development program, as well as invited for a two-day accelerator workshop at Cambridge University, UK, where expert help and professional guidance is provided to help them develop their ideas.
Hosted online at Ashoka Changemakers – a community that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other – application for the competition is now open and will close midnight 1 August 2014. Finalists will be announced in late October 2014, with the Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging in January 2015.
Over 500 applications from more than 90 countries were received in last year’s awards, with winning projects that included a mobile data and messaging system that tracks water supply and optimizes its use in India, a low-cost chicken-feed made from waste mango seed in Nigeria, and even water-less toilets in rural Peru or 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 labor to a farming collective. The overall winner was 24-year old Gamal Albinsaid of Indonesia, who addressed two sustainability challenges with one idea: converting the value in household waste into health insurance for low income families. His idea is being turned into a repeatable model in communities throughout Indonesia.
“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,” says Unilever CEO Paul Polman.
If you’d like to emulate young Gamal’s positive impact in not just in his own community but beyond, sign up your idea for the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards today.