Do you, or someone you know, have a big idea for the world’s future? The search is now on to find the 2019 Young Champion of the Earth; a prestigious global prize that is awarded to environmental entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 30. Last year, Melbourne-based entrepreneur Natalie Kyriacou made the regional finals, and the Covestro Australia team are keen to see whether another Australian will have a shot at the prestigious award.
Each year, Covestro and the United Nations join forces in this outstanding initiative, which sees up to seven winners receive $15,000 seed money to invest in their projects, as well as invitations, funding and mentoring to attend high-level UN meetings where they can share their ideas with the world. The focus is on improving the future of our planet.
As the CEO of My Green World, Natalie Kyriacou was selected as the Asia & Pacific regional finalist for the award last year, and her story is truly inspirational.
Natalie developed My Green World as a way of addressing global wildlife and environmental challenges through innovative, youth-focussed education. Her enterprise contains educational assets such as a digital platform called ‘Kids Corner’, a wildlife blog and a mobile game application called World of the Wild, which allows users to support charities and become virtual wildlife heroes.
As a young, female entrepreneur, Natalie’s journey hasn’t been easy. Issues around funding are always hard for start-ups, and Natalie says that her age and gender have been a challenge. “When I first started, I wasn’t being taken seriously. I found that I was usually one of the youngest people in the start-up sector, as well as often being the only female” she said.
Natalie also has some great insights to share with other entrepreneurs from the region. She says that simply finding the courage to get started on a big idea, and then accessing the right support network are amongst the biggest hurdles for young entrepreneurs. “I would encourage people to just start their idea. Having access to a strong support and community groups are very important” she said.
The funding and support provided by the Young Champion of the Earth initiative is especially designed to help young entrepreneurs grapple with some of these challenges.
The Covestro Australia team are really looking forward to learning about this year’s Champion of the Earth Finalists. Who knows, maybe this year one of the winners will be from Australia!
For further information visit www.unenvironment.org/youngchampions