Mayor launches search for London’s young green entrepreneurs

29 November 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a search for the brightest student entrepreneurial talent with ideas for ‘green’ business projects to help tackle urgent environmental problems facing the capital. The competition is supported by the Citi Foundation.

Entrants to the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition will use their creativity to pitch projects that take on London’s green challenges, from tackling pollution and boosting air quality to lowering carbon footprints.

They will shape their ideas with the help of mentoring from business experts, before pitching their final projects to a panel of investors at City Hall – and Citi will give the winning project £20,000 in start-up funding.

Winning projects from previous years include Bio-bean, which turns London’s coffee waste into advanced biofuels for use in heating and transport, and Aeropowder, which turns waste feathers into a range of new materials like building insulation. Another previously shortlisted project took on food waste (Solveiga's Bump Mark) with a bio-reactive label that warns exactly when food has gone off.

Since being elected Sadiq has put green issues at the very top of his agenda. He is consulting on a bold and wide-ranging package of measures to clean up London’s air and has also urged producers, retailers, restaurants and consumers to take collective action to reduce food waste, among other initiatives.

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: “From cleaning up our filthy air to boosting recycling and cutting food waste, our student entrepreneurs could help solve some of the serious challenges our city faces.

“London is the best place in the world to launch and grow a business and a leading centre for green technology. With our many world-leading universities in the capital, I’m sure this competition will generate some truly innovative solutions to help boost London’s environment.”

The Mayor has recruited 15 student interns to work with him to promote the competition across London universities.

Citi’s Chairman of Energy Banking and Head of Climate & Sustainability Council in EMEA, Niels Kirk, said: "Sustainable solutions to urban challenges are critical for the future competitiveness of global cities like London. Young people have a vital role to play. These awards encourage innovation and an entrepreneurial mind-set, not only unleashing young people’s potential to solve major challenges, but also helping them develop vital skills for their future careers.

“That's why these awards are such an important part of the Citi Foundation's global Pathways to Progress initiative, harnessing the creativity and drive of London's students to develop innovative, sustainable business models, whilst also building their capabilities as London's next generation of entrepreneurs. We're excited to be supporting for the second year." 

Notes to editors

Air quality consultation

The Mayor is consulting on a range of measures to tackle poor air quality in London, including a new T-charge (Emissions Surcharge) in the Congestion Charging Zone in 2017 and introducing the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) a year early in 2019, as well as expanding it to the North and South Circular roads.

The Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit