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2017 Young Entrepreneurs Award Winners

 

In 2017, 1,339 entrepreneurs from 128 countries entered the competition.

HRH Prize Winner

Sabrina Natasha Habib, Co-founder of Kidogo, was selected as overall winner of the fourth HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize and category winner of Opportunities for Women. 

Category Winners

As well as the overall HRH Prize Winner, three category winners were selected in 2017. The winner of Farm to Table was Elizabeth Latham for The Sustainable Protein and Environment Initiative. The winner of Waste was Andrew Foote for Sanivation. The winner of Water was Ankit Agarwal. A further four winners were recognised. Read more below.

 

Sabrina Natasha Habib

Sabrina Natasha Habib, 29

Initiative: Kidogo

Country of impact: Kenya

A social enterprise building a network of quality, low-cost daycare services to help women get to work, while giving their children the best start in life.


Back in 2012, while working for a non-profit, Sabrina visited an urban slum outside Nairobi. The women accompanying her wanted her to see an informal baby care centre. What struck her first was the smell – of urine and faeces. As she slowly stepped into the dark space, her foot hit something on the floor– she was horrified to discover it was a baby. Despite there being 20 babies there, all awake, there was total silence.

“It could have been me.”

Sabrina’s parents were born in East Africa and the experience led Sabrina to think, “it could have been me”. She learned that this US$1/day service was the best childcare option for working mums in urban slums, who needed daycare in order to work. It got her wondering how she could offer a higher-quality service at the same price point.

Empowering ‘mamapreneurs’

And so in 2014 Kidogo was born. The project built a ‘hub and spoke’ model – owning and operating best-practice ‘hubs’, which act as centres of excellence for high-quality, play-based early childhood services at less than US$1/day.

The Kidogo team also identify ambitious women running informal, unlicensed daycare services, whom they call ‘mamapreneurs’, and engage them in a two-year social franchising programme. In these ‘spokes’, the mamapreneur gets training, mentorship and tools to help her improve the quality of care, while earning a dignified livelihood.

To date, Kidogo has provided over 1 million hours of quality childcare in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Its ambition is to be the largest network of childcare and preschool services in East Africa by 2025.

Find out more about Kidogo


 

Ankit AgarwalAnkit Agarwal, 28

Initiative: Helpusgreen

Country of impact: India

A social enterprise working with manual scavenger women to upcycle flower waste, diverting it away from polluting the River Ganges.


Eight million metric tonnes of flowers are scattered in India’s temples and mosques every year. Yet what begins as celebration ends up as something more toxic. Much of it is subsequently dumped in the Ganges, polluting it for the millions that rely on it for food, water, agriculture and bathing.

Flower-cycling for dignified livelihoods

Ankit Agarwal set up Helpusgreen in 2015 to find profitable uses for this flower waste, turning it into organic fertiliser and incense sticks. And to do it, Helpusgreen works with manual scavenger women, considered ‘untouchables’, providing dignified and healthy work to help lift them out of poverty.

A blossoming future

To date, Helpusgreen has collected 635,000kg of flowers from temples and mosques, diverting 6,350kg of chemicals from ending up in the river. They are working with 257 manual scavenger families, giving them 15 times their previous income, helping to send their children to school and build a brighter future.

And this all translates to a successful bottom line, with revenue of over US$70,000 last year and a 17% profit margin. They are currently preparing for a first investment round. Strong media coverage is opening up new relationships and raising the profile of temple waste across the region.

Helpusgreen currently works in four cities in Uttar Pradesh, with plans to expand to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. New products are in the works (including a biodegradable Styrofoam alternative), six patents are in the pipeline and they are in talks with the government of India to scale up across the country.

Find out more about HelpUsGreen


 

Naadiya MoosajeeNaadiya Moosajee, 33

Initiative: WomEng

Country of impact: South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland, Mauritius, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, US, UK

A ‘profit–non-profit’ hybrid giving girls and women their rightful place at the engineering table.


Achieving the Global Goals is going to take some engineering skills. Yet traditionally women and girls have been excluded from the sector. The number of women engineers in Africa is typically below 10%, and in developing countries it’s not much better, at around 20%.

Investing in women and girls

WomEng is striving to transform the industry by developing and investing in girls and women. Their GirlEng programme gamifies maths and science and provides mentoring. Once at university, WomEng ambassadors provide supportive communities to help these girls to thrive. And their Fellowship programme teaches entrepreneurship and has an annual ‘technovation’ challenge which helps young women start their own business.

WomEng also works with organisations to transform their engineering talent pipeline, helping them achieve their gender equality targets.

From personal to global

It was co-founder Naadiya’s personal experience that led to WomEng. She describes entering engineering “by accident”, being in a class of just five girls and 55 boys, then experiencing harassment when working in the industry. She knows first hand the importance of having women at the table, and how gender diversity leads to innovation and creative problem solving.

Since 2006, WomEng has worked with over 14,000 girls at various levels of the engineering pipeline. Their ultimate goal is to empower 1 million girls through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by 2027. 


 

Kuldeep DantewadiaKuldeep Dantewadia, 29

Initiative: Reap Benefit

Country of impact: India

A ‘profit–non-profit’ hybrid using technology to build a generation of young problem solvers tackling water and sanitation issues.


Despite millions being spent in Indian cities to tackle waste, water shortage and sanitation issues, sustainable water solutions are not widespread. Kuldeep Dantewadia believed that young people’s ideas and energy could do what local governments couldn’t. So he built a tech platform called Reap Benefit and started working with young people through schools to find the answers.

Smart, fresh solutions

The approach has resulted in some innovative and practical ideas. For example, one young person trained by Reap Benefit visited a government school in his community and found their bathrooms to be so poor and smelly that students preferred to go outside in the open instead.

When an affordable solution couldn’t be found, he and his friends came up with the idea of a low-cost waterless urinal. They developed and installed it and the design can now be found in schools all over the province.

The friends are now what Kuldeep calls ‘solvers for life’ and can continue to engage with their communities and benefit from mentorship. Through their work, the platform is also a powerful data collector, data which is then ploughed back into informing new solutions.

To date Reap Benefit has worked with over 15,000 young people, diverting 270 tonnes of waste from landfill, saving 19 million litres of water and 1,450 kilo units of electricity, and developing six low-cost solutions.

A ‘Solve Squad’ for the future

Over half of India’s population is under the age of 25 and by 2020, India is expected to be the youngest country on our planet. Kuldeep and his co-founder Gautam Prakash see Reap Benefit as having the potential to play a big role in giving those young people the skills and confidence to become the civic entrepreneurs of the future.

Reap Benefit’s goal is to have 1 million ‘Solve Squad’ members by 2022, a ‘Solver Van’ filled with tech, tools and mentors and an improved ‘Solver Squad’ app; to expand their revenue-generating data service; and to integrate their approach with school and college curriculums. 

Find out more about Reap Benefit


 

Christine MoseleyChristine Moseley, 35

Initiative: Full Harvest

Country of impact: US

The first and only business-to-business marketplace connecting food companies to farms to buy ugly and surplus produce, solving farm food waste.


Did you know that 50-60% of romaine lettuce is left in the field in California, never to be eaten? And across the US, around 20% of fresh produce suffers the same fate? It’s perfectly good, delicious food that goes to waste because it’s ‘ugly’ or surplus to requirements. This is against a backdrop of one in seven Americans described as ‘food insecure’ and two-thirds as ‘obese’.

A B2B marketplace

Discovering this shocking reality was what spurred Christine Moseley to start up Full Harvest. It’s the first business-to-business produce marketplace connecting large farms to food and beverage companies. Soon it will also be open to food banks so that they can redistribute food that otherwise wouldn’t sell.

At its heart is a user-friendly tech platform, which acts as a one-stop-shop providing automated services like online payments, purchase orders and invoices, as well as communications tools. It makes selling, finding and buying excess produce fast and easy.

Since launch, Full Harvest has sold 2 million lbs of produce from US and Mexico farms. To grow that volume, approximately 100 million gallons of water would have been used (enough to provide drinking water for 500,000 people for a year), and 700,000kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted – all for nothing if the food is wasted.

From ugly to profitable

Full Harvest is already working with major national food and beverage companies, and Christine estimates that there is a US$12 billion market for ugly and surplus produce in the US alone. Next year her goal is to sell more than 20 million lbs of produce, to be working with farms in Central and South America, and to be at the forefront of a movement to drive out food waste.

Find out more about Full Harvest


 

Andrew FooteAndrew Foote, 29

Initiative: Sanivation

Country of impact: Kenya

A social enterprise transforming human waste into a clean, affordable fuel, helping to keep communities healthy.


In Kenya, 95% of solid human waste is released into the environment untreated. This is a key driver of diarrhoeal diseases – the leading cause of death in children under five years old. Unfortunately, current solutions for faecal sludge management are often too expensive and difficult for local authorities to manage.

Two problems make an enterprise

At the same time, there’s also a huge need for affordable, clean biomass fuel. Andrew Foote and co-founder Emily Woods – engineers turned entrepreneurs – asked: ‘What if one of these challenges was the answer to the other?’

Sanivation partners with local authorities in Kenya to scale waste processing services and transform faeces into a charcoal substitute. Specifically, they take faecal sludge, from their own toilets and those of others, treat it with solar thermal energy and combine it with other waste streams to make charcoal briquettes. These briquettes burn longer and produce only one-third of the carbon emissions of traditional briquettes.

The benefits are already being felt. Take Margaret and her family. In the past, they had always had to choose between going to the toilet in an unsafe open field, an unhygienic shared pit latrine, or using a bag (and throwing it into the street). Now Sanivation has installed a toilet in her home, her family has a much safer and healthier choice. In addition, the community around Margaret benefits by Sanivation ensuring the human waste is safely managed and transformed into a fuel the offsets deforestation.

Safety, dignity and health

To date, Sanivation has provided sanitation services for over 2,500 people in communities and refugee camps. They’ve treated 11 tonnes of human waste in their two factories and sold over 70 tonnes of briquettes, saving 6,610 trees in the process. And they’re employing over 40 people in the local area.

The team is partnering with local governments to operate full-scale municipal waste processing factories and plan to serve at least 25,000 people per factory by 2020. With an estimated 4.5 billion people living in places where waste is not safely managed, Andrew and the team see huge potential for growth.

Find out more about Sanivation


 

Elizabeth LathamElizabeth Latham, 32

Initiative: The Sustainable Protein and Environment Initiative (SPE)

Country of impact: US

A business built on a patent-pending probiotic that could radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farm animals.


Methane is a greenhouse gas roughly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. A key source comes from farm animals, such as ruminants like cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats. As our global population grows and demand for meat increases, the challenge of reducing methane production from the industry becomes ever more important.

Innovating the ruminant gut microbiome

Could a probiotic be the solution? Scientist Elizabeth Latham thinks so. She’s developed a patent-pending bacteria (Pb 79-R4) whose metabolism reduces methane in the gastro-intestinal tract of ruminants. It does it by outcompeting the microbes that produce methane.

Pb 79-R4 also suppresses certain micro-organisms that cause disease, such as E. coli and Salmonella, reducing the need for antibiotics. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can be sprinkled over feed, pasture or water, so it’s easy to store and use.

Halving methane production

SPE originated from Elizabeth’s PhD research and was driven by her passion to help farmers produce safer food products, keep animals healthy and tackle climate change. Pb 79-R4 has been shown to reduce methane by over 50% in their research herd. Elizabeth estimates that if just 1% of producers in the US use the probiotic, it would be the equivalent of removing over a million cars from the road.

In the next two years, SPE has ambitions launch in Texas, where 13% of the cattle in the United States are raised, and from there to expand to other US states and internationally.


 

Iseult WardIseult Ward, 27

Initiative: FoodCloud

Country of impact: UK and Ireland

A social enterprise connecting the food industry to charities, using an innovative tech platform to redistribute good food that would otherwise be wasted.


In 2013, while studying business at university, Iseult and her friend Aoibheann O’Brien discovered that over 30% of food produced globally was lost or wasted, much of it completely edible. At the same time, almost a billion people were going hungry. Digging deeper, they discovered the problem was just as acute in their home country, Ireland, where 1 in 8 people experience food poverty.

Getting good food to those who need it

And so they got to work developing FoodCloud. The platform connects businesses with surplus food to charities in their community. For example, someone working in a supermarket can upload details of food they have to donate to the FoodCloud app, which then sends a message to a local charity letting them know of the donation and the time they can collect it. With businesses having to pay for throwing out food waste, it’s win–win for everyone.

KARE Social Services is a case in point. The Irish charity provides services to the elderly and vulnerable. From 2014 to 2016, 20% of their food was collected from retailers Tesco and Aldi through FoodCloud, saving them about €3,000 per week.

FoodCloud also offers a support centre, data on social and environmental impact, and full traceability and due diligence for food safety. They are also developing the quality and quantity of data collected so that partner businesses can use it to improve their operations, offering further commercial benefit.

The future is connected

FoodCloud now works with over 2,000 supermarkets in the UK and Ireland, and has redistributed over 22 million meals to those who need it most. In May 2017 alone, the equivalent of 1 million meals were distributed through the platform to 5,000 charities. Its goal over the next two years is to grow its network to 6,000 donating stores and over 10,000 charities. It is also exploring how it could expand the platform into other international markets.

Find out more about FoodCloud

                                                                                                            

 

Contact

James Cole

James Cole, Director of Corporate Relations and Communications

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