Mayor awards London’s top young green entrepreneur with £20,000 prize

21 March 2017

Judges choose Twipes for prize provided by the Citi Foundation

Winning project aims to ease pressure on London’s sewers

Two City, University of London students will receive a £20,000 investment from the Citi Foundation after winning this year’s Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, presented the winning students Alborz Bozorgi and Ellenor McIntosh – creators of the winning entry Twipes – with their prize at a ceremony at City Hall.

Entrants were asked to come up with creative solutions to the environmental and social challenges London faces – and more than 300 entries from 37 institutions were whittled down to the final shortlist, with nearly 599 students involved.

The 10 shortlisted entries – representing seven London universities – spent the day pitching their ideas to the expert judges. They then faced the pressure of answering questions about all aspects of their ideas from the panel, which included perfumer and entrepreneur Jo Malone, Citi’s Chairman of Energy Banking, Niels Kirk, and founder of Bio-bean, Arthur Kay.

Twipes are eco-friendly, antibacterial toilet wipes which are dispensed from a roll similar to toilet paper, are free from harsh chemicals and – crucially – disintegrate in water in just three hours.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As London’s population grows the pressure on our infrastructure increases with it. Alborz and Ellenor are to be commended for tackling this challenge head on and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.

“I’m hugely impressed by the quality of entries. It’s testament to the creativity and talent in London’s world-leading universities that such a range of innovative solutions have been developed to make our city a better place for future generations.”

Winner Ellenor said: “Winning was absolutely fantastic. Having the Mayor endorse our product and our idea gives us such validation.”

Fellow winner Alborz added: “All the judges are heads of their industries and to have them believe in our product is amazing.”

Judge Niels Kirk said: “Citi is excited to be supporting the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur award. Today’s finalists have developed environmentally and socially-minded business propositions and should all be incredibly proud to have reached the final of this competition.

“We believe in the importance of supporting today’s urban youth with the Mayor’s Fund for London to help catalyse jobs and develop entrepreneurial and innovative mind-sets, so that they are empowered and career ready. As a global business we see first-hand the impact unemployment has on young people the world over, and the influence this can have on their self-esteem and future prospects.

“This year the Citi Foundation has expanded its Pathways to Progress commitment with $100 million to reach 500,000 young people through training and jobs worldwide over the next three years.”

Other shortlisted entries included, a device for engines and gas boilers that removes nitrogen from the air entering the equipment. a robotic arm to enable stroke patients to complete more rehab at home and a biodegradable substitute for leather made from carbon-neutral mushrooms.

Notes to editors

  • The full shortlist of entries is available here: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/smart-london-and-innovation/mayor-entrepreneur-2017.
     
  • The judging panel consisted of:
     

    • Garry Moore - founder, Propelair
    • Jo Malone MBE – perfumer and entrepreneur
    • Jenny Tooth OBE – CEO, UK Business Angels Association
    • Niels Kirk – Chairman of Energy Banking, Citi and Head of Climate & Sustainability Council
    • Christian Lane – CEO, Smarter.am
    • Arthur Kay – CEO, Bio-bean and former competition winner