Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards

Unilever believes that given the chance and the right support, young people around the world can create powerful, positive movements for change.

2014 finalists with the Prince of Wales and Paul Polman

That’s why in 2012 we launched the annual Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards in partnership with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and in collaboration with Ashoka. It’s a programme which celebrates and supports people under the age of 35 who are working on a unique product, service or application that will help create a brighter future for those in need.

The Awards provide seven winning entrepreneurs with a total of more than €200,000 in financial support and individually tailored mentoring from Unilever, the CISL and sustainability leaders. The overall winner will also receive the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize.

Backing the Global Goals

The Awards are part of Unilever’s efforts to support the 17 United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These ambitious goals set out to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change, empower women, secure universal water access, and reduce hunger by 2030.

This year, the Awards categories are aligned to eight of the new Global Goals which closely reflect Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and our company purpose of making sustainable living commonplace. The competition opened on 23 September and closed on 20 November.

The categories are:

  • Global Goal 1 – No poverty
  • Global Goal 2 – Zero hunger
  • Global Goal 5 – Gender equality
  • Global Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation
  • Global Goal 7 – Affordable and clean energy
  • Global Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth
  • Global Goal 12 – Responsible consumption and production
  • Global Goal 13 – Climate action

We know how important innovation, measurable impact, financial stability and leadership are for sustainable growth, so we look for these qualities from entrepreneurs and their initiatives too.

Supporting a new generation of leaders

The 2014 competition attracted over 800 entries from 88 countries, across six continents. We’re currently mentoring last year’s winner, Daniel Yu, to develop and grow his business Reliefwatch – a simple piece of software which helps medical clinics in the developing world to digitise and manage inventory records for better patient outcomes.

Who we work with and how to apply

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership empowers individuals and organisations to take leadership to tackle critical global challenges.

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries. It has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. Ashoka Changemakers brings together high-potential changemakers, their ideas and their resources.

The 2015/16 competition has closed, meet the 7 finalists and find out who the winner is on 16 May 2016.

We’ll be posting updates on the Awards website and on Twitter, simply follow @Unilever, @cisl_cambridge and @changemakers for news and updates.

The photograph above shows the 2014 finalists, Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, HRH The Prince of Wales and Polly Courtice, LVO, Director CISL.

Explore more on these topics:

Back to top


We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.


Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters or find contacts around the world.

Contacting us