2015 winners announced!
Congratulations to Solveiga Pakstaite's Bump Mark (Brunel University) and Caroline Wood and Vivien Tang's Clotho London (Imperial College London) the 2015 Low Carbon Entrepreneurs. After an exciting morning where all 10 finalists pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges the winners were announced by competition sponsor Siemens on 13 March at City Hall. You can see more details of the 2015 finalists. More pictures of the day and a highlights video are coming soon.
The competition looks for idea's to reduce London's energy use and carbon emissions from London's students and recent graduates. Register your interest to get an alert when we open for applications for the 2016 competition. We're looking for your ideas to make your London a smarter, cleaner, better place to live and work.
Could this be you?
What could you do with a £20k seed fund and help and advice from City Hall to get your idea started? Solveiga's Bump Mark is a new expiry label which goes bad exactly when the food inside the package does. Just run your finger across the label, if it is smooth you are good to go, if it is bumpy then be cautious. This new labelling aims to reduce food waste by telling us more about the state of our packaged food.
Caroline and Vivien are also helping to reduce waste with their online clothes swapping website Clotho London. Students drop off their unwanted clothes at 4 university locations and gain credit to spend on the website. The clothes are then sorted and highest quality items are listed for sale letting people refresh their wardrobes as often as they like but keeping waste low. They plan to use the money to set up more drop off locations. See a full list of past winners, runners up and finalists
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 2015 panel includes Dame Elllen MacArthur DBE, award-winning solo yachtswoman; Charlene White, journalist & newsreader; Richard Reed, entrepreneur, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies; Siemens UK CFO Andrew Hall; Siemens Global Head of Urban Development Martin Powell; Morad Fareed, co-founder of Delos; and the Mayor's Senior Adviser on Environment and Energy 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 2014 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 2015 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 in 2016?
- you must be, or have been in 2015, a student from a university or college within Greater London. You'll need to submit proof you were a student in 2015, like a scan of your student ID / graduation certificate showing the date
- you must be over 18 on 30 March 2016
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 within a year of winning. 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.
- Use this DECC tool to help decide what you'd like London in 2050 to look like.
- 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?
Applications are currently closed but please do Register your Interest for updates on the competition including when it next opens for applications.