UK start-up Ooho is one of five finalists in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2015.
The international competition, which supports sustainability innovation, is the largest of its kind. The winner, to be announced on 10th September, will receive €500,000 (£354,000) to further develop their product or service and bring it to market. The runner-up will receive €200,000 (£141,370). The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is an international competition from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, championed in the UK by its sister lottery, the People's Postcode Lottery.
Rodrigo Garcia González and his company, Ooho, is up against four other entrepreneurs from across the world for the €500,000 prize. Ooho is taking aim at the billions of plastic containers thrown away each year. To solve this problem, Ooho offers an alternative packaging for water, based on natural containers like fruit skins. The Ooho water bottle wraps water inside a spherical double skin, which is cheap, biodegradable and even edible.
Last year, British entrepreneur, Arthur Kay, took home the main prize for his company, bio-bean. The London-based innovator patented a process to upcycle waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuel products, which can be used for powering buildings and transport systems.
Arthur Kay, co-founder and CEO of bio-bean, said, "I was absolutely thrilled to win the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge last year, as I was up against some impressive entrepreneurs from all over the world. The €500,000 has enabled me to take bio-bean to the next level, and I can't believe how much we've managed to achieve in a year. We have now been able to build a 20,000 square foot processing facility, which gives us the potential to recycle over 50,000 tonnes of coffee per annum.
"As well as this, we have now started to collect waste coffee from a number of major UK transport hubs, and are working with pioneering waste management and logistics companies to arrange coffee ground collection from hundreds of sites of various scales in London, using branded bags, bins, skips and trucks. I would encourage anyone with a revolutionary green business concept or service to apply for this fantastic competition."
At 23 years old, Arthur Kay was one of the youngest winners in the history of the competition and was presented his award by Dame Ellen MacArthur, the former professional solo-sailor and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who chaired the jury last year. In 2012, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge was supported by Sir Richard Branson, who also chaired the event.
Do you have an innovative idea that could help reduce carbon emissions? Visit the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Scholarship page to find out more. The scholarship is open to prospective and current students wishing to pursue a postgraduate degree, with the view that it will help lead to the development of a 'green themed' commercial concept. Entries open from 1st September and close 30th March 2016.