In 2013 Unilever partnered with Ashoka and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to launch the annual Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards. It’s a programme which celebrates and supports people under the age of 35 who are working on a unique product, service or application that will help create a brighter future for those in need.
Our annual programme has seen over 2250 young entrepreneurs from over 100 countries on six continents, with entries spanning the gamut from digital healthcare for female only doctor-patient clinics in Pakistan, to a waste management solution which converts kilograms of household waste into health insurance in Indonesia. We have searched the globe three times over and we are thrilled to be kicking off for a fourth year.
The 2017 Awards launch on May 18th, 2017.
- The competition is open to individuals age 18- 35 years, from any part of the world
- Solutions must relate to one or more of the categories
- Entries must have grown beyond the conceptual stage to include actions the applicant has already taken – whether through informal networks, via an existing institution, or by creating a new enterprise
- Entries cannot be accepted from current Unilever employees, nor can entries promote Unilever or its products, however, the entrepreneur may have worked with Unilever in the past, or may be working with Unilever currently.
- Entries must be submitted in English
We’re focusing on four key sustainability areas in 2017: waste, sustainable agriculture, women, and water. We will invite the top two entrepreneurs from each category to what we call the Accelerator, where we ask you to inspire our judges with your pitch. The winner and runner up in each category will then be chosen. The overall prize is the Prince of Wales Prize, which will be awarded to the stand out entrepreneur across the categories.
We are looking for initiatives across the waste spectrum—not just initiatives tackling packaging waste. For example, you could be developing an ingenious solution to reduce or rethink the choice of materials in production phase, or running a project that helps improve the livelihoods of people who are working in waste collection, or working on a recycling incentive scheme that is set to revolutionise the way a country tackles their waste issue or an idea to re-use waste materials. Initiatives should demonstrate a clear business (financial), consumer (benefit) and environmental case.
Opportunities for Women
We are seeking initiatives that help to tackle the discrimination and disadvantages millions of women face around the world. You might be working to help provide access to skills and training for women, and creating opportunities for women to actively, safely and fairly participate in the economy. Alternatively, you might be working on a micro-enterprise initiative to help women on low-incomes escape poverty.
Farm to Table
In this category we are looking for inspiring entrepreneurs who are working on sustainable initiatives relating to food and drink production right through to consumption. We are looking for entrepreneurs who can demonstrate innovation that not only protects the planet’s natural resources, but will help to transform our food systems, offering a long-term approach that can create value and enhanced livelihoods for farmers, and ensure security of supply for the long-term. Entries should ensure issues such as deforestation and land use, alongside social and community issues are managed responsibly. You may be working with smallholder farmers, be working to inspire and inform people about sustainable nutrition or helping them to make better choices, or creating food and drink products that support the long term health of people and the planet.
Are you working on an initiative that tackles water scarcity, or one that addresses water, sanitation and hygiene issues? We are looking for solutions that conserve or reduce the amount of water used across communities, from water use during the extraction or cultivation of raw materials, through manufacturing processes. Or perhaps you have an initiative that is helping people better manage access to water and adopt tools and behaviours which help them use less in the home or at work? We are seeking entrepreneurs with initiatives that address how to improve hygiene practices in any country, or offer an innovation to improve access to sanitation in remote areas.