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Global Green Challenge; calling all entrepreneurs
by Lucy Nicolson
With new figures out this month (May 2013) revealing that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reached an all-time high at 400 parts per million (PPM), the timing for a global competition to find carbon cutting ideas is apt
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is urging Britain's entrepreneurs to submit innovative new products and services that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. Offering the biggest green prize pot of over £430,000 (€500,000), the Challenge also has industry backers to help bring the winning carbon cutting idea to life.
Traditionally, Britain has always done well in the annual Challenge, with three entrepreneurs walking away with funding in the competition's six years, and event organisers are hoping that this will be a record year for British entries.
Research undertaken for People's Postcode Lottery last month, suggests that CO2 reduction is high on the minds of the British public - with 80% of the UK population taking active steps to reduce their personal CO2 footprint.
The research, conducted by Censuswide, highlighted that Brits are using a range of smaller tactics in an effort to cut their own emissions with recycling, insulating homes and purchasing fair-trade brands, cited as the top three. Recognising the success a small idea can have to climate change on a global scale, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is urging sustainable entrepreneurs to step forward. Jo Bucci managing director of People's Postcode Lottery said:
"Climate change is something we need to tackle urgently, and previous Postcode Lottery Green Challenge winners have shown us how one clever, creative, green idea really can make a difference."
Each year, the judging panel of international business and public sector experts are blown away with the level of creativity in the business plans received. Throughout its six years, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge has produced winners from around the world, with ideas that range from a new micro-organism that will replace expandable foam and portable solar energy devices, to a water recycling shower and roof-top turbine that sits along the roof ridge, both of which were developed by British designers.
Last year's winner, Molly Morse of Mango Materials from America, invented a technique which uses bacteria to turn methane into biopolymer granules to create biodegradable, affordable plastic, which can then be used for a number of products and materials. After use, it can be digested and returned to the microbial process.
Another entrepreneur, who has proven that simple sustainable ideas can be very effective in helping to combat climate change, is Robert Matthams. To date, his shipping business 'Shiply', has saved over 20 million kg of CO2. Set up in 2008, Shiply is an online transport business which matches hauliers' capacities with peoples need to move goods. Since becoming a finalist in 2009, Shiply has grown significantly; something which Robert credits to the support he received as a finalist of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. Robert Matthams, managing director of Shiply, said:
"The UK has a relentless drive to create, innovate and tackle the large underlying environmental problems we face today. However, entrepreneurs are often unable to raise the necessary funding, or make the required industry connections, to really make things happen at scale.
"The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge offers a fantastic platform for entrepreneurs, providing access to unrivalled contacts and valuable resources that can help make a huge difference to their idea and the environment, and I am forever grateful for their support towards Shiply."
Now in its seventh year, the Green Challenge has received backing from world figures such as President Clinton, actor Brad Pitt and Sir Richard Branson, who will once again chair the jury of the competition. The entrepreneur will join a panel of business and sustainability experts to assess the viability of the entries and select a handful of finalists to present their ideas before an international jury of experts in September in Amsterdam. Commenting on the Challenge, Sir Richard Branson, said:
"The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is about using innovation to make a real difference to climate change and we are calling on all British entrepreneurs to enter the competition."
Open until the 17 July 2013, the Challenge is looking for new products and services that combine sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. Entries must be at the stage where they can be brought to market within two years and are measured on their ability to help reduce CO2 emissions in a range of categories including ICT, lifestyle, design, energy and mobility. The winning business idea will be awarded £430,000 and invaluable support from industry experts.
Britain’s entrepreneurs are encouraged to step up to save the planet and log onto www.greenchallenge.info for more information and to download the application form, which must be submitted before 17 July 2013.
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