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Unilever seeks young entrepreneurs

Building on the success of its first Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards in 2013, Unilever once again invites young people worldwide.

Englewoodcliffs, NJ (July 10, 2014) -- Building on the success of its first Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards in 2013, Unilever once again invites young people worldwide to create and invent practical and innovative solutions to the world’s biggest sustainability challenges and enter them in this year’s Awards.

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. (EST) on August 1, 2014 at 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 labour 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 twenty-four 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 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 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.”

Please visit the Ashoka Changemakers website at to apply, nominate a candidate, or learn more about the competition.

About University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges.

Capitalising on the world-class, multidisciplinary strengths of the University of Cambridge, CISL deepens leaders’ insight and understanding through its executive programmes, builds deep, strategic engagement with leadership companies, and creates opportunities for collaborative enquiry and action through its business platforms.

Over 25 years, CISL have developed a leadership network with more than 5,000 alumni from leading global organisations and an expert team of Fellows, Senior Associates and staff. HRH The Prince of Wales is the patron of CISL and has inspired and supported many of the institute’s initiatives.

About Ashoka Changemakers

Ashoka Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker.

Jaime Stein - Unilever Media Relations


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