Meet seven young entrepreneurs changing the world for the better

The winner of the Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards, an international programme which discovers and nurtures the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs under the age of 30, was announced this week.

Unilever, working with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), awards the winner a cash prize of $50,000 and a year-long mentoring programme to support their businesses.

Meet this year’s winner, Daniel Yu, and the six other finalists (in no particular order):

1. Daniel Yu – ReliefWatch

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ReliefWatch builds medical inventory systems that can be accessed on basic mobile phones, automatically tracking when medications expire to ensure they don’t go to waste.

Daniel has used lessons he learned working in Egypt, where many local health clinics were often out of stock or stocked expired medications that were affecting patients who needed them.

To date, ReliefWatch has digitised two million units of drugs and supplies and the technology is being expanded to centres in Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

2. Alloysius Attah – Farmerline

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Farmerline is a voice-based service that helps farmers to increase their income and productivity by providing information on a variety of topics such as weather, markets, finance and farming techniques direct to farmers’ mobile phones.

Currently based in Ghana, it is projected to reach 400,000 farmers over the next five years resulting in a 50% increase in income per acre, and was most recently used to disseminate Ebola prevention tips to small scale farmers in the country.

3. Charles Batte – Tree Adoption Uganda

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Tree Adoption Uganda (or TAU) is an NGO working towards offering a three-year programme of business training and mentoring to young people, helping them develop new businesses.

Charles, who grew up in an impoverished slum in Uganda, encourages participants to build start-up capital by supporting them to set up tree nurseries, with the associated emissions reductions sold as carbon offsets.

4. Mark Boots – Voto Mobile

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Founded by Mark Boots and Louis Dorval, Voto Mobile is a mobile phone-based voice service that makes it easier for organisations to communicate with citizens and consumers across West Africa.

It replaces complex in-person surveys involving motorbikers and clipboards, removing barriers to insightful communication, and has been used by more than 250 organisations, reaching 250,000 people across 20 countries. Their partners include The World Bank, UNICEF, McKinsey&Co, Innovations for Poverty Action, Farm Radio and CoWater.

5. David Opio – Ensibuuko

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Ensibuuko helps rural smallholder farmers, who make up 80 per cent of Uganda’s population, to access financial services on their mobile phones by using a mobile and web application that integrates SMS and mobile money services.

In order to do this, they partner with existing savings and credit cooperative groups, which farmers have traditionally turned to for saving and borrowing.

6. Jackie Stenson – Essmart

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Essmart is building a marketplace for life-improving technologies such as mobile phone chargers, clean water filters and solar lighting in small retail shops that over 90 per cent of Indian households use.

They already operate six distribution centres and are planning to expand to 17 in the next three years, which would put their products in shops serving 1.17 million households.

7. Katerina Kimmorley – Pollinate Energy

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To tackle the lack of access to reliable electricity affecting more than 700 million people, Pollinate Energy sets up networks of micro-entrepreneurs to distribute sustainable technology such as solar lights and clean cookstoves on payment plans to India’s poor.

Based in Bangalore, the organisation has installed 6,786 solar lights across 519 urban slums through a network of 16 pollinators, reducing air pollution and poor light quality in turn.

Categories: Asia

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