After a rigorous semi-final, Shell LiveWIRE UK have selected six finalists for their Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This annual award recognises entrepreneurs who are taking a novel approach to building a smarter, more sustainable future for the UK. Each of the six entrepreneurs have previously won Shell LiveWIRE’s £5,000 Smarter Future Award.

“The six young entrepreneurs advancing to the final are applying innovative thinking to some of the most significant challenges facing our economy and society — from pioneering less resource-intensive agricultural methods to developing more sustainable materials for construction and packaging,” said Alex Annaev, Shell UK social investment advisor. “I am always impressed and inspired by the ability of these young people to turn such creative and vital ideas into reality. Whichever one of them emerges as the overall winner, they can all be proud of their achievements so far. We look forward to continuing to support them through the LiveWIRE alumni community, and will watch their progress with great interest."

This year’s six finalists are:

Container Design & Build

Container Design & Build: Converting Shipping Containers

Container Design & Build (CDB) converts shipping containers into office space, retail units, and homes. Because the shipping containers are portable, they can be transported to small pockets of land in city centres rather than building on green field sites. In addition, by upcycling shipping containers, CDB stops steel containers going to waste around the world.

Beta Bugs: Using Insects as Protein

Beta Bugs: Using Insects as Protein

The demand for animal-based protein is expected to double by 2050. This means livestock require increasingly more feed. Beta Bugs produces high-performance insects for the growing insects-as-feed sector, reducing the need for environmentally damaging soymeal and fishmeal. Insects grow quickly and require minimal land and water.

Boy holding equipment

WASE: Transforming Wastewater into Energy

Centralised wastewater treatment plants generate a significant amount of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases. WASE has developed a wastewater treatment system that can convert wastewater into a biogas that can generate electricity and heat. Customers can then reuse the treated water and energy on-site, lowering the carbon impact of their processes. Any leftover nutrients are used as fertiliser.

Man holding plant

LettUs Grow: Growing More Food with Less Water

The agricultural sector consumes about 70% of the planet’s accessible freshwater. LettUs Grow has developed a system to grow vegetables using 95% less water than traditional agriculture methods. Their aeroponic system grows vegetables without soil, using less water and delivering better flavour and faster growth.

Man sitting in front of plant saplings

Biohm: Tackling Construction Waste with Biomimicry

The construction industry consumes over half of the earth’s natural resources and generates a tremendous amount of waste. Biohm has developed a new form of construction that uses biomimicry – designing and producing structures based on biological entities. These natural, bio-based, breathable materials don’t require permanent fasteners, allowing buildings to be deconstructed at any stage without demolition.

Lab Women holding jar bottle

Alterwaste: Replacing Plastics with Eggshells

The UK generates 80,000 tonnes of eggshell waste each year and almost all of this waste ends up in a landfill. Alterwaste has developed a compostable material from eggshells that can replace plastic and other materials in packaging, cosmetics, gardening, and more.

What’s Next?

These six entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to an independent judging panel on 2 July, who will determine which entrepreneur takes home the £25,000 prize. The judging panel consists of Ana Avaliani (Royal Academy of Engineering), Oliver Rosevear (Cost Coffee), Alex Betts (Adaxia Capital Partners) and last year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner Douglas Martin (MiAlgae).

The winner will be announced the following day at Make the Future.

To learn more about Shell LiveWIRE UK and their awards programme, please visit their website.