Budding green entrepreneurs are being urged to enter their ideas into an international competition for a chance to win €500,000 (£408,000) to turn their dream business into a reality.
The eighth annual Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is open to entrants until June 3. The judges will be looking for an innovative product or service that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is capable of being brought to market within two years.
Some €200,000 (£163,000) will also be awarded to one or two runners-up, with the winner to be announced on September 11 at the final in Amsterdam.
“Innovation is key in fighting climate change”, said jury member Jim Walker.
“The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is an incredible platform for innovative products and services. Not just because of the prize money, but also because of the global exposure and valuable network.”
Last year, American entrepreneur Ginger Dosier won the grand prize for her company, BioMason. BioMason uses an unconventional, clean brick production process, cutting emissions from a heavily polluting industry.
Jury member Marty Pickett added, “I am looking forward to judge new brilliant ideas this year. Every year, the quality of entries improves and the decision gets more difficult.”
One beneficiary of the challenge is 2009 finalist Rob Matthams. The last UK-based finalist, Matthams impressed the judges with his business Shiply.
Shiply is an online transport marketplace, where people list goods and Ebay items they want to ship, and receive bids from hauliers with empty space on already planned lorry trips. This means that consumers save money; trucks stay full, reducing congestion; and hauliers are more efficient.
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, Matthams explained, “I stumbled across the problem when having a pool table delivered to my student house – the delivery driver was heading back from Manchester to London completely empty of cargo.
“Entering the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge was instrumental in securing Shiply’s success”, he added
“In addition to the €100,000 (£81,000), which helped us to scale up and launch across Europe, we also got access to fantastic mentors and worldwide press coverage.”
Matthams advised people thinking about entering this year’s competition to put themselves in the judge’s shoes: “Be clear and concise, less is more. Ideally go in with a working prototype and traction rather than just an idea on a deck.”
To enter, entrepreneurs must send in detailed business plans via the challenge’s website.