Today, Unilever announced an international awards program designed to inspire young people around the world to tackle environmental, social and health issues. Presented in partnership with the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards, a competition hosted on the Ashoka Changemakers platform, will offer the winner the HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize.
Open to anyone aged 30 years or under, the awards — now accepting entries — are looking for innovative but practical, tangible solutions to help make sustainable living commonplace. More than €200,000 in financial support and individually tailored mentoring is on offer to help entrepreneurs develop and scale-up their initiatives during the competition.
Seven finalists will take part in a four-week, online development program followed by a two-day 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, drawn from the worlds of business, sustainability and entrepreneurs.
The Awards are looking for scalable and sustainable solutions in the form of products, services or applications that enable changes in practices or behaviors in one or more of seven categories:
- Water, sanitation and hygiene
- Water scarcity
- Greenhouse gases
- Sustainable agriculture
- Helping smallholder farmers
Applications must be submitted online at http://www.changemakers.com/SustLiving and received by November 1. Finalists will be announced in December, with the Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging in January 2014. The winner and finalists will attend a prestigious dinner in London on 30 January 30 at which the HRH The Prince of Wales Prize will be presented.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, “I believe that this award has the potential to be really exciting. Why? Because it provides a focal point for the power and creativity of young entrepreneurs who want to help find solutions for some of the world’s most urgent issues. There is no better way to use our energy, innovation and resourcefulness than spending it trying to create a better future for all in a world we want.
“It is entirely fitting that we are working with the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and its patron, HRH the Prince of Wales, who has been so clearly committed to enabling young people to fulfill their hopes and shape the future they deserve.”
“We are delighted to bring the research insight and entrepreneurial dynamism of the Cambridge community, alongside our worldwide network of business leaders, to support these awards in encouraging the innovation and leadership we so urgently need," said Polly Courtice, LVO, director of CPSL. "The decision by CPSL’s Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, to support a prize in his name, underlines the importance he attaches to developing the next generation of sustainability leaders."
The Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards are just the latest way that Unilever is crowdsourcing sustainable innovation ideas — in May, the company gathered ideas and feedback on sustainable packaging through its second Sustainable Living Lab; and last month, it announced a competition seeking ideas for the world's first sustainable shower.
The Sustainable Brands Innovation Open London is now accepting entries. Visit www.sbio.co to find out more and enter the competition.