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Celebrating and supporting sustainability innovators with the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards

The Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards 2019 are open for applications until 30 June. The Awards are designed to support and celebrate young entrepreneurs.

Since 2013, the Awards have reached over 5,800 inspiring young entrepreneurs from over 100 countries. Each of our 37 past winners has brought a new perspective, an exciting opportunity, and unbridled passion with them to London and Cambridge, UK, where we have helped them to learn and grow.

Everyone has their own reason for applying to the Awards. But in the words of past winners, we look at what the Awards can do for young entrepreneurs.

“When I got to Unilever, I saw how much they really wanted to help this take off – it was more than just a story for their website. And if they can’t help you, they’ll find someone who can. If you become a winner, they really do believe in you.”

Elizabeth Latham
2017 Winner
Co-Founder, The Sustainable Protein and Environment Initiative

 

Relationships

The Awards are designed not only to foster a relationship between young entrepreneurs and Unilever, but to expose them to people who will inspire them, support them, and give them the right introductions to take their initiative to the next level.

The accelerator programme does this by connecting winners to successful entrepreneurs who have faced similar challenges, to Cambridge University experts in business growth and scaling, to leaders in sustainability, and to senior Unilever buddies who support them across the programme.

Winners then get to pitch to a high-profile panel in London, where we bring in judges who could help with their next step, making important connections. In London, they will also have the chance to set up networking meetings, meet Unilever’s CEO, and they will be the special guest at the big prize event, giving them unrivalled recognition and exposure.

This support continues for a whole year following the Awards, with mentoring tailored to what they and their business needs the most.

Learn more about the mentoring support from mentor Nicky Dee.

“It was a life changing experience. I was at a really low point, and this came at the tipping point for me, to either stay in my venture or go back to corporate. It was the affirmation I needed to stay in the game.”

Naadiya Moosajee
2017 Winner
Founder, WomEng

 

Personal development

The biggest challenge every leader faces is maintaining motivation and growing as a person, where their professional life becomes inseparable from their personal life.

The accelerator programme has sessions that focus on this; on staying motivated, staying inspired, and increasing confidence as a spokesperson for a business. Winners become a part of Unilever’s and Cambridge’s networks of entrepreneurs, and connect with people facing the same challenges as them. The pitch process offers an exciting challenge, and is often a new experience to understand what other people think about their initiative. Our expert mentors are also there for winners for an entire year after they win the Awards – and often longer – giving them all the support they need to succeed.

“The Awards … added to the visibility of our business and helped getting national and international recognition, the funding helped build and sustain operations, and we got the opportunity to work with Unilever Pakistan. As at April 2018, Sehat Kahani has now impacted more than 600,000 lives.”

Dr Sara Saeed
HRH Prize Winner 2016
Co-founder & CEO, Sehat Kahani

 

Scale for impact

Ultimately, our goal is to help entrepreneurs scale and grow the impact their initiative is having on the environment and society. We want to see them succeed. Every aspect of the Awards is geared towards this. Through education, exposure, funding and mentoring, we help entrepreneurs grow sustainably, raise their profile to the next level, and use the prize money where it is needed most.

The growth of past winners has been incredible to watch over the past four years of the Awards – Sehat Kahani is just one example.

Just like our past winners, if you – or someone you know - has an initiative, product or service that is tackling a social or environmental challenge, then we want to hear it.

Enter the 2018 Awards by 30 June.


 

This blog first appeared on the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards website, written by CISL staff member Amelia Moulis.

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Amelia Moulis

Amelia is a Senior Project Manager in the Corporate Relations and Communications team at CISL, where she works with Unilever and young entrepreneurs. 

Amelia joined CISL in 2018 from Australia, with a background in social impact consulting. She has worked with stakeholders across the private, public and social sectors to address challenges in natural capital, renewable energy, global health and food systems – both as a consultant and as a Director of an NGO.

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Disclaimer

Articles on the blog written by employees of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) do not necessarily represent the views of, or endorsement by, the Institute or the wider University of Cambridge.