Unilever seeks more young people with big sustainable living ideas

Awards in partnership with Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and in collaboration with Ashoka offer young entrepreneurs over SGD 338,000 in financial and mentoring support.

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.

Open 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 EUR 200,000 (SGD 338,000) 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 expert help and professional guidance is provided 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, at www.changemakers.com/sustliving2014. Applications are open today and must be submitted by the closing date of 12 midnight on 1st August 2014. Finalists will be announced in late October 2014, with the Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging in January 2015.

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 EUR 50,000 (SGD 84,711) 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.

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 per cent of the population in developing and emerging countries, but they are 100 per cent 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.”

For more information, contact Campbell Hodgetts, Communications Director, Unilever SEAA at campbell.hodgetts@unilever.com

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