Enter your bright idea now to win £20k or a paid internship
The Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize is now open! If you're a London student or recent graduate with an idea to reduce London's energy use and carbon emissions we want to hear from you. We're looking for your ideas to make your London a smarter, cleaner, better place to live and work. Check out the competition categories.
Entry is free and you can submit as many ideas as you can come up with. Apply on your own or in a group, just make sure that you send us your ideas before 16 February 2015.
Could this be you?
What could you do with a £20k seed fund to get your idea started? solarbox has already invested their 2014 winnings to launch the first free solar powered charging kiosk for mobile phones in an old red telephone box on Tottenham Court Road. It's attracted international interest and solarbox is already looking to get more boxes set up across London. Read more in their blog.
Winners also get help and advice from City Hall to set up their business. See a full list of past winners, runners up and finalists like 2012's winner Arthur Kay. His idea to turn London's coffee waste into biofuels is still winning and he now runs bio-bean.
Everyone who applies can choose to have a chance of one of up to six paid internships with competition sponsors Siemens. Previous interns have worked in everything from finance to IT and marketing. You can read interviews with previous interns here.
Your ideas will be judged by an expert panel that picks the top ten finalists. Find out more about our 2014 Expert Judging Panel. Finalists then must pitch their ideas Dragons Den style to the final judging panel, which picks the winner/s. The 2014 panel included Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, co-founder of Innocent Drinks Richard Reed, the UK CEO of Siemens Roland Aurich, Siemens Head of Urban Development Martin Powell, NUS President Toni Pearce, Zac Goldsmith MP, and the Mayor's Environmental and Political Advisor Matthew Pencharz.
In 2014 the pitches were opened to a live audience for the first time with students from across London coming to see what they'd have to do to win next year. You can watch a highlights video of the pitches and see photos from the event.
Worried about pitching? Don't be, we offer free presentation training to everyone who enters. The skills you'll learn won't just help with pitching ideas, they are also useful for interviews, and in future careers. The 2014 training was run by The Spring Project.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to the questions we're asked most often. Otherwise email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can apply?
- you must be, or have been in 2014, a student from a university or college within Greater London. You'll need to submit proof you were a student in 2014, like a scan of your student ID / graduation certificate showing the date
- you must be over 18 on 30 March 2015
Do all team members have to be eligible to enter the competition?
No, you can choose whoever you want for your team, as long as the lead member is eligible. However, only the lead member and eligible team members can receive the prize money and/or be considered for an internship. Eligible members will sign a basic contract with City Hall before receiving the prize money (see an example contract here).
Should I enter as an individual or as part of a team?
You can enter as either or both.
I'm worried about confidentiality and idea ownership. How will this work?
City Hall, the Low Carbon Entrepreneur delivery team and all judges will keep your ideas confidential unless you've given written permission to, or if they're required by law to reveal the information. Titles of winning entries and brief descriptions approved by finalists may be used in publicity. You should agree who owns the idea with anyone you discuss it with. If you're entering as a group you should agree who owns the idea before you submit. The intellectual property of any submitted ideas remain the applicant/s.
Who gets the prize money for a team idea and what can we spend it on?
The prize fund must be spent to help bring the idea to market, for example on, legal advice, website development, and prototypes. It can't be used for any other expenses like living costs. The money has to be spent by June 2016. It will be released as you need it and you must give us copies of receipts to show how you've spent it.
If I reach the final, will I get a mentor?
Yes. The winners will receive mentoring from the Low Carbon Entrepreneur delivery team.
Do I have to be interested in a Siemens internship in order to apply?
No, the internships are independent of the prize fund. You can choose not to receive information about the internships.
Can you tell me more about the internships?
Internships vary from from three months up to a year depending on the role. They can also start at any time of the year. The internships have up until now been based in London at Siemens sustainable cities initiative The Crystal, but some opportunities are now coming up at other Siemens UK offices. Interns are paid £15,000 a year pro rata.
Do competition winners automatically get internships with Siemens?
No. Interested applicants will be sent information when internships become available and will have to apply for roles they'd like to do.
Where do I go for more information?
For further inspiration take a look at the London Sustainable Development Commission’s Quality of Life Indicators report.
For an interactive demonstration of the issues facing cities in the future, we recommend you visit Siemens’ urban sustainability centre The Crystal.
How can I enter today?
You can submit your entries now by completing the competition entry form. Deadline for entries is 16 February 2015.