Through the awards, which are open to anyone aged 30 or younger, Unilever is looking for young entrepreneurs who have created scalable and sustainable products, services or applications that reduce environmental impacts, improve health and well-being or enhance livelihoods through changes in practices or behaviors.
The Awards, which 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 €200,000 (or approximately $272,000) in financial support and individually tailored mentoring. The overall winner also receives the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize.
Applications must be submitted by 7:00 p.m. (EDT) on August 1, 2014 at www.changemakers.com/sustliving2014. Finalists will be announced in October 2014. All seven finalists take part in an online development program and then participate in a two-day accelerator workshop at Cambridge University, UK in January 2015, where they will receive expert help and professional guidance to help them develop their ideas. The Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging takes place in January 2015. Shortly following, the Awards will be hosted online at Ashoka Changemakers, a community that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other.
Last year, more than 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 labor to a farming collective.
The overall winner – who won €50,000 (or approximately $68,000) 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.
“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," said Unilever Chairman Paul Polman. "Young people will soon represent 50% of the population in developing and emerging countries, but they are 100% of the future, so it’s absolutely vital we continue to enroll 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.”
To apply, nominate a candidate or learn more about the competition, visit the Ashoka Changemakers website at www.changemakers.com/sustliving2014.