Green-minded entrepreneurs and sustainable start-ups are being encouraged to apply for this year's Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. The winner of the competition, which is open for entries from 1st March until 1st May, will be awarded €500,000 of funding to develop their business. The runner-up will win €200,000, while three other finalists will receive €100,000 each.

A panel of experts will choose the top five British entries, which will be put forward to an international judging panel. They will select the five finalists from all over the world to pitch their ideas at the final in Amsterdam in October.

Since its inception in 2007, a diverse range of environmental issues have been tackled by the companies making it to the final of the prestigious competition.

Last year's winner, The Great Bubble Barrier, developed an innovative way to stop plastics polluting the ocean by using a bubble curtain to capture rubbish as it flows down rivers - without stopping ships or fish from passing through.

British company LettUs Grow made it to the final and won €100,000 to develop its sustainable farming business. The start-up designs efficient irrigation and control systems for indoor farms. These aeroponic systems deliver higher crop yields, reduce production costs and make farmers' lives easier.

The other finalists included Reverse Resources and Algiknit, which use innovative approaches to tackle waste in the fashion industry. AquaBattery pioneers non-toxic, 100% sustainable energy storage solutions.

Clara Govier, Managing Director at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "As part of the Postcode Lottery family, along with our sister lotteries in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Germany, we have a shared aim of creating a better world for people and planet. Reducing our impact on the environment by tackling climate change is an important part of this aim.

"It's fantastic that we are seeing more and more businesses in the UK starting with the aim of creating solutions to the biggest problems facing the planet today - and I'd urge any start-ups to enter Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. It's a quick application process, you don't give up any shares of your business, and you could win €500,000!"

Find out more about how to apply for this year's Green Challenge.

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Last year's Green Challenge winner, The Great Bubble Barrier, developed an innovative way to stop plastics polluting our oceans