The top award of R $8,000 (US $2,460) went to Emanuela Farias whose business, ‘Mulheres do Sul Global’, empowers female refugees by equipping them with skills, such as sewing, so that they can generate an income to support their families and to create a better quality of life.

Commenting on her award, Emanuela said, “My project was born in the classes I’ve attended as part of the Shell Inciactiva Jovem programme. This prize is just the beginning. It’s proof that all the willpower from the heart can become a reality! I’m very grateful for all the support I received from Shell and the whole of the CIEDS team, for making my dream come true.”

Izabella Medeiros took second place, and R $6,000 (US $1,840) with her business, Clube Brincante, which provides educational toys to children with special needs. Third place, and R $4,000 (US $1,230) was awarded to Paloma Blanc for her healthy drinks company, Purifica.

48 Entrepreneurs from the 80 taking part in the 2017 Shell Iniciativa Jovem programme (the Shell LiveWIRE programme in Brazil) were selected to present their start-ups at the business fair, which provides them with an invaluable opportunity to pitch their ideas to over 700 visitors who attended the event at the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã).

Celebrating its 17th edition, the annual fair aims to create business opportunities and promote interaction between entrepreneurs, investors and incubators. The programme also helps entrepreneurs with networking and the opportunity to work collaboratively and develop partnerships.

The judges selected five other companies to each receive start-up awards funding of R $2,500 (US $760) and these included: MagTech, which uses magnetic nanoparticles to help in cancer treatments; PiBags, produce a range of bike and yoga bags; Rocidade, specialise in locally sourced organic healthy foods; Allevi Viagens, a travel company; and, Barkus Educacional, which aims to provide young people with personal finance education.

A special award, voted for by the public, of R $2,000 (US $600) went to Davi Rezende Upcycling, which turns waste products into furniture. Examples of his work include turning an old bath into a funky new couch, and transforming part of an old truck into a contemporary dressing table.

A new award, for the first time this year, for the ‘Most Innovative Business’, went to Bernardo Amaral and his business Plástico Precioso. Bernado received R $3,000 (US $920) for his enterprise which transforms waste plastic bottles and cups into a range of gifts and souvenirs.

Praising all of the Shell Iniciativa Jovem businesses presenting at the fair, Pâmella De-Cnop, Social Perfomance Manager, Shell Brazil, said, “The whole Shell team is hoping the businesses seen at the Shell Iniciativa Jovem Business Fair keep growing and developing themselves in order to create new opportunities to generate employment and incomes.”

Two businesses supported by Shell Iniciativa Jovem, ‘Asia Colours’, an Asiatic themed clothing brand, and ‘Zahira’, a bag and beach brand that uses sustainable materials, put on special catwalk shows during the event.

Marcelle Torres, founder of Asia Colours, explains that her enterprise is committed to raising resources to develop sustainable agriculture in East Timor, saying, “My main goal is to internationalise the social technology PAIS, in order to develop a sustainable agriculture system that will enable people in East Timor to eat healthier and empower them economically, so they can sell their own food surplus. Through fashion diplomacy, Asia Colours is looking forward to cross the borders and connect cultures.”

All of the businesses will now undergo the programme’s sustainable development and assessment process to demonstrate that they are environmentally and socially responsible. Those who are successful in this process will be awarded the coveted Shell Iniciativa Sustainable Development Seal.

The judges in the 2017 Shell Iniciativa Jovem awards were: Gustavo Motta, We do Logos; Frederico Dantas, Impact Hub; Ellen Pedroso, McDonalds Institute; Pedro Telles, Sistema B (B Lab); and, Liz Quinderé, Brownie do Luiz.

Those judging the Innovation Award were: Lisiane Andrade, Kickante; Hector Gusmao, Fábrica de Startup; Tiago Diniz, Chef’s Club; Rafael Carvalho, Edools, and, Marcos Semola and Daniel Moreto of Founders Institute.