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Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards

The 2017 Awards have now closed. 


Celebrating young sustainability innovators

Now in their fourth year, the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards, delivered by Unilever and CISL, support and celebrate inspirational young people aged between 18–35 from all over the world who have developed initiatives, products or services that are tackling some of the planet’s biggest sustainability challenges. 

We believe that the ingenuity and determination of the younger generation are critical in helping to identify sustainable solutions to the problems facing the world today and in the future. The Awards are an opportunity to support, inspire, reward and collaborate with a new generation of the world’s most brilliant young change-makers; innovators who are the future of sustainability.


Entering the competition

If you have an initiative, product or service already in action that’s tackling a sustainability problem, or you know someone else whose brilliant work deserves recognition, we want to hear from you. We are looking for innovative and scalable technologies or initiatives that are contributing to one or more of these four categories:


Farm to table   

Farm to TableHow can we transform our food systems so that they create value and enhanced livelihoods for farmers and ensure security of supply for the long-term while safeguarding the environment? And what can change in the way we make or consume food and drink so that they improve people's health and nutrition?

Opportunities for women

Opportunities for WomenMillions of women around the world face discrimination and curtailed opportunities. Could new initiatives provide access to skills and training, create opportunities for women to actively, safely and fairly participate in the economy, or help women escape from poverty?


WasteAre there entrepreneurs out there with ingenious initiatives that help to tackle waste – to reduce, reuse or recycle waste throughout the pre-production, production and consumption lifecycle? Initiatives that can demonstrate a clear business (financial), consumer (benefit), social and environmental case?



Water scarcity, pollution sanitation and hygiene issues all present big challenges to people's development. Can innovation find ways to conserve or reduce the water people and businesses use, or make a breakthrough that would improve hygiene and access to sanitation?



The Awards will recognise up to eight winners. Two finalists in each of the four categories will be selected from a video interview process and invited to an Accelerator Programme in Cambridge, where they will work with experts from CISL, Unilever and other guest experts.  

The category winners will receive a 10,000€ cash award and one-to-one mentoring support. The category runners-up will receive a 7,000€ cash award and one-to-one mentoring. A winner will then be selected out of each of the categories who will then go forward to pitch to a guest judging panel to decide the overall winner of the competition.


The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize

The overall winner will receive the HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize, awarded at a special prize event hosted in London and attended by all finalists. The prize includes a 50,000€ cash award and one-to-one mentoring support for a duration of 12 months tailored to the winner's specific needs to enable them to take forward their initiative. HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of CISL and is actively involved in our work. 


Previous Awards

Dr Sara Saeed collecting her award
Dr Sara Saeed collecting her award from Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever and Polly Courtice, Director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Over the last three years, the Awards programme has reached over 100 countries, engaged with over 2,250 young entrepreneurs, and resulted in 21 finalists, with entries spanning from digital healthcare for female-only doctor-patient clinics in Pakistan, to a waste management solution which converts kilos of household waste into health insurance in Indonesia.

The overall winner of last year’s Awards, Dr Sara Saeed, was selected from a shortlist of seven finalists following a demanding interview process and an intensive accelerator programme to prepare finalists for the final pitch.

Sara is the co-founder of doctHERs – a digital platform which connects impoverished communities in Pakistan to high-quality healthcare while reintegrating qualified female doctors into the workforce. 

2016 winners: hear their stories


    Competition opens: 18 May 2017 

    Competition closes: 30 June 2017 

    Finalists announced: September 2017 

    Winners announced: November 2017

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    , Programme Director