Mayor of London's Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2015

Submit your bright idea to win £20k or a paid internship

Flashing energy efficient lightbulbs

The Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize is looking for ideas from London's students to make your London a smarter, cleaner, better place to live and work. Are you a London student or recent graduate with an idea to reduce London's energy use and carbon emissions, if yes then 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 February 2015

Prizes

There is a £20k prize fund for the winning ideas to get them started. The money needs to be used before July 2016. The winners also get help and advice from us to set up their business. You can see full details of past winners, runners up and finalists here. solarbox won £5,000 in 2014 and have already used it to launch their first free solar powered mobile phone charging station in a repurposed red telephone box. Read more in their blog.

Everyone who applies can choose to have a chance to be considered for one of up to six paid internships with competition sponsors Siemens. Previous interns have worked in a range of areas at Siemens including finance, IT, and marketing. You can read interviews with previous interns here.

Judging

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 who'll choose 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.

Judges at pitching event

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.

Pitching training

Worried about pitching? Don't be, we offer free training in presenting your ideas to everyone who enters. The skills learned in this training not only help with pitching ideas, they are also useful for interviews, and in future careers. The 2014 training was run by The Spring Project.

Finalist pitching training

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out answers to the questions we get asked most often below. For any other questions email us at lowcarbonentrepreneur@london.gov.uk

Who is eligible to apply?

  • you must be, or have been in 2014, a student from a university or college within Greater London. You will need to submit proof that you were a student in 2014, for example 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. We recommend you agree who owns the idea with anyone else you discuss your ideas with.  If you're entering as a group you should also agree who owns the idea before you submit. The intellectual property of any submitted ideas will remain with 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 with the aim of bringing the idea to market for example, legal advice, website development, and prototypes. It is cannot be used for any other expenses like living costs. The money has to be spent by June 2016. The prize money will be released as you need it and you will have to give us copies of receipts to show how you have 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 range in length from three months up to a year depending on the role. They also vary in their start dates through 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, internships with Siemens are not automatically given to competition winners. Interested applicants will be sent information when internships become available and will have to apply for the roles they would 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 20 February 2015.

If you have any more questions, please email lowcarbonentrepreneur@london.gov.uk and a member of the team will get back to you.