Meet the 2015 Young Entrepreneur Awards Finalists
Committed to a Bright Future
What if… your idea could change the world? These inspiring young entrepreneurs asked themselves this question, and have gone on to help thousands of people worldwide improve their lives with support from Unilever and our partners.
The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards were founded in 2012 to recognise and support the work of bright minds worldwide – young people who share our belief in the power of change through small steps and big ideas. Anyone under the age of 35 and working on a unique product, service or application that will help create a bright future for those in need are able to enter each year.
At Unilever, we know that our responsibility goes beyond our own products, which is why we support and encourage entrepreneurship that gives way to great ideas that can change our world. In recent years our young entrepreneurs have helped tackle issues surrounding water scarcity, sanitation and farming, and this year’s innovations were no less exciting!
2015 Winner Announced
On May 16th 2016, Dr. Sara Saeed was announced the winner of the 2015 awards, receiving the prestigious Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize for her project DoctHERs. She will receive a €50,000 cash prize towards her project (approx. £38,000), along with €25,000 worth of support and mentoring (approx. £19,000).
In Pakistan, socio-cultural barriers prevent many women who qualify as doctors from working. Not only that, the cost of healthcare and the lack of women doctors available can make it equally difficult for women to get the treatment they need. DoctHERs is helping to change this! Sara’s digital platform connects qualified female doctors to low-income patients to offer affordable healthcare. Since 2014, the enterprise has impacted 15,000 lives directly, over 100,000 people indirectly, and now employs fifteen doctors, five nurses and five specialists. By 2020, Sara aims to scale the nurse-assisted video consultation programme to over 500 clinics across Pakistan, directly benefitting 1.2 million people. To find out more, watch Sara’s story below or visit: www.docthers.com.
Between them, our seven entrepreneurs share over €200,000 (approx. £153,000) in financial support and mentoring from Unilever, the CISL and sustainability leaders.
Meet the other 2015 finalists, who competed for the 2015 award:
Cynthia’s Kadosh Production Company helps cassava farmers in Nigeria to increase their yield and save money through an integrated mechanized plant that processes and packages cassava into products 200% faster and 20-30% more cheaply. In Nigeria, women are central to cassava production, and the plant also dries and packages cassava peel, so they can sell it as livestock feed. Read more about Cynthia and her project here.
90% of the world’s cacao is produced by 5 million smallholder farmers who live on less than $2 per day. Emily Stone founded Uncommon Cacao, a specialty cacao supply chain from producing and processing to manufacturing. Uncommon Cacao works directly with cacao farmers in central America to increase their incomes. The scheme has had a positive impact on farmers’ incomes, school attendance and women in the workforce. Visit www.uncommoncacao.com for more information.
Dr. Gavin Armstrong
Gavin set up Lucky Fish to find an affordable way to tackle iron deficiency in Cambodia, while creating a scalable solution for the 3.5 billion iron-deficient people worldwide. When used in cooking, the iron ingot cast has been shown to reduce instances of iron deficiency. So far, 70,000 fish have been sold and another 70,000 have been donated to families in the developing world, benefiting 250,000 people. Help Gavin’s mission to put a fish in every pot, and find out more, click here.
Liisa’s company Ignitia uses proprietary algorithms tailored for the tropics to create GPS-specific forecasts that are twice as accurate as existing models. Ignitia partners with local telecoms providers to send 48-hour forecasts, monthly outlooks and six-month seasonal outlooks to farmers in West Africa via SMS. This simple, low-cost service has been shown to increase income by as much as 80%. To find out more about this ground-breaking new technology, visit: www.ignitia.se.
Oscar Andres Mendez Gerardino
Conceptos Plasticos is a Colombian enterprise that is tackling housing problems through recycled plastics. Using an industrial process called extrusion, Oscar’s business turns plastics and rubber into quality construction materials, which are used to build low-cost, safe, durable housing. It takes just five days for four people to assemble a house of 40 square metres. Read more about Oscar and his project here.
Toby founded non-profit tech start-up Simprints in Bangladesh to help people link to their digital records through a mobile biometric scanner. The World Bank estimates that one third of all births go unregistered and that 2 billion people worldwide lack formal identification, which limits their access to essential services. This new technology will reach 22,000 mothers and children in 2016, and could have a huge global impact. Visit www.simprints.com to find out more.
Who was your favourite finalist this year? Leave a Facebook comment below to let us know. If you’re interested in entering the 2017 awards, or to stay updated on our young entrepreneurs and other Unilever brightFuture initiatives, sign up here.