Sunday 23 February, 2020

UN offers seed money to environmental entrepreneurs

iStock image

iStock image

United Nations Environment Programme has launched its 2020 Young Champions of the Earth prize, a competition open to environmental entrepreneurs between 18 and 30 years of age.

With climate change threatening the existence of natural ecosystems, UNEP is seeking to support young visionaries who recognize the scale of the global environmental crisis.

Entrepreneurs who have the courage to find innovative solutions – many of which use nature itself – to build a healthier planet will be rewarded, UNEP said in a release on Wednesday.

Previous Young Champions of the Earth winners have spearheaded ideas to address critical environmental issues and the Sustainable Development Goals through high- and low-tech innovations.

Last year’s winners included an Angolan ethno-conservatist working with communities to conserve the Okavango, one of the world’s last remaining wild spaces; a Nepalese software engineer who aims to make electric public transportation a quality alternative to private vehicles and a Lebanese industrial engineer who works with students and refugees to reuse and recycle unwanted clothes.

UNEP is accepting applications up until April 10.

The global competition is described as one of the UN’s most prestigious prizes for young environmental entrepreneurs who have big ideas to solve the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Winners selected from seven regions spanning the globe will receive seed money to invest in their projects, as well as mentorship and the opportunity to attend high-level UN meetings to share their innovations with the world.

UNEP will follow them on their journeys and provide updates on their progress as they implement their big ideas.

Applications for the Young Champions of the Earth will be subjected to a global jury tasked to select seven winners from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and West Asia.

Environmentalists between the ages of 18 and 30 should submit their big idea by midnight GMT on April 10.

Specific funding to be received was not mentioned, but the competition website said that in addition to funding, prize winners will receive tailored training and a global communication platform to amplify their work.

Through the award, projects will gain visibility locally and internationally.

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