Daniel Yu, founder of Reliefwatch — which makes software to help medical clinics in the developing world to digitize and manage inventory records for better patient outcomes — has won the Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneurs Prize.
As part of the prize, Yu has been awarded €50,000 ($56,500) and will be supported with a tailored mentoring program delivered by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Unilever experts over the course of 2015. The six runners up each will receive a cash prize of €10,000 ($11,300) in addition to mentoring and support.
The prize is the top accolade in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards, delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). The awards, first launched in 2013, celebrate entrepreneurs aged 30 and under who have developed a product, service or application that helps make sustainable living commonplace.
Some 816 entrepreneurs entered the awards from 88 countries on the Ashoka Changemakers platform, a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas. The winner was selected from a short list of seven finalists following a interview process and an intensive accelerator program to prepare finalists for the final pitch.
“Government and business cannot tackle the world’s greatest sustainability challenges on their own,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “We need to empower individuals to take action — young men and women who embrace the need for change and who want to make a difference.”
Last year, Unilever announced the launch of The Unilever Foundry, a platform that enables innovative startups to partner with Unilever. The company said the Foundry will enable its global brands to experiment with and pilot new technologies more efficiently, effectively and speedily. It will also provide startups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and work on global projects, access mentoring from marketing professionals, and tap into a new source of funding through Unilever Ventures.