Unilever Young Entrepreneurship Award

In 2014, Unilever created the Young Entrepreneurs Awards. This competition aims to take the sustainable initiatives of young entrepreneurs to the next level. For Unilever, the goal of this programme is to make sustainable living a norm.

Nominees of this programme, such as social entrepreneurs or organisations looking to make a change, have the golden opportunity to work with Unilever, a giant who needs no introduction, along with all the financial and partnership advantages it bears. The programme has indeed created partnerships with recognized entities such as the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide.

With regards to the prizes, eight entrepreneurs will be rewarded, two per category, in the categories described below. These entrepreneurs will be selected from a video interview and invited to an Accelerator Programme in Cambridge, where they will work with experts. For each category, a winner will be selected and invited to pitch in front of a jury who will decide who is the overall winner for 2017. This entrepreneur will receive the ‘HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize’. The prizes for winners and finalists are as follow:

- The winner of the ‘HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize’ will receive a €50,000 cash award and one-to-one mentoring support tailored to their specific needs for a duration of 12 months.
- The category winners will receive a €10,000 cash award and one-to-one mentoring support tailored to their specific needs for a duration of 12 months.
- The category finalists will receive a €7,000 cash award and one-to-one mentoring support tailored to their specific needs for a duration of 12 months.

If you feel like the programme is a good fit for the company you are building, you must check that your initiative falls under one of the following categories:

- Farm to table: For this category, the programme is looking for entrepreneurs who are creating sustainable agriculture initiatives as well as people aiming to promote better nutrition and support long-term health of the people and the planet.
- Opportunities for women: Here, the target group will be entrepreneurs who help women to escape the daily discrimination that they face.
- Waste: Any action aiming to tackle waste. The nominee should demonstrate a clear social, financial and environmental case.
- Water: Eligible entrepreneurs are ones who take initiatives to reduce water scarcity, pollution, sanitation and other hygiene issues.

Is your initiative up to Unilever expectations? Great! Now let’s review some other criteria:

- Your concept cannot only be an idea. The programme seeks entrepreneurs who have already went past the innovation stage, and are currently implementing their ideas to create a positive impact.This is not to help you launch your company but to take you to another level.
- The founder or co-founder must be aged between 18 and 35 years old and come from any country in the world besides Russia because of local data protection laws.

For more information about each category, criteria, assessment and tips, please visit the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards website.

If you are fall under all criteria, Now, time to proceed to your nomination. The inscription is open until the 30th of June at midnight.

Before you become a nominee, let’s have a quick lookout on last year participants. Hopefully, this may give you some ideas. Also a little bit of national pride because last year a Cambodian company was rewarded, yay! Here is the recap video about last year finalists. We highly recommend it for the inspiration such entrepreneurs can give.

We also had the chance to get a feedback from last year’s Cambodian finalist, Lucky Iron Fish:

Participating in the Unilever Young Entrepreneurship Award was a phenomenal experience for both my company and myself as an entrepreneur. Though the end result does invoice a trophy and cash prize, the real reward is the time spent with mentors and change makers who want to learn more about your company and help you succeed. I would highly suggest anyone interested in this opportunity to apply.”
Gavin Armstrong, Founder and CEO Lucky Iron Fish. UYEA Finalist 2016

Now we wish you the best of luck for this upcoming challenge and if you are not selected, don’t worry there are plenty of funds for social entrepreneurs, including the Global Innovation Fund.