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Since its launch at the beginning of the year, Shell LiveWIRE UK's Smarter Future Programme has already provided funding totalling £25,000 (US $38,900) for five young entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that meet the needs of a growing population in a smarter, more sustainable way.

The five monthly award winners, who each received £5,000 (US $7,700) in start-up funding, include:

Dan Roberts (24), whose London-based social enterprise BananaBerry turns surplus fruit and vegetables, which would otherwise go to landfill, into healthy smoothies for office workers. Dan's idea will help reduce food waste in the UK, estimated to be around 15 million tonnes annually, of which nine million tonnes is avoidable.

Mason Holden (24), along with his colleagues Michael Evans (24) and Daniel Harkin (25), the co-founders of Admium, developed BikeVault, an advertising-supported bicycle parking structure, equipped with a built-in locking mechanism. Their idea addresses a significant barrier identified by the 'Get Britain Cycling' campaign to increasing cycling rates in cities – the lack of secure cycling infrastructure. The European Union could achieve up to 26% of the 2050 carbon reduction targets for the transport sector if cycling rates increase by five times their current level, and businesses like Admium are integral to making this happen.

Solveiga Pakstaite (23) from Design by Sol has developed an innovative, bio-reactive food expiry label, called Bump Mark, which indicates whether the food inside the packaging is safe to consume. Using gelatine to model the decay process of food, Bump Mark is able to indicate exactly the condition of the food, and whether it has gone bad, simply by running one's finger over the label. Almost half of all purchased food is wasted and the impact of food waste throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production to final home consumption, is not just financial. It also means that fertilisers, pesticides and transport fuel have been wasted. In a world with limited natural resources, Bump Mark's cost-effective food waste reducing technology is a novel and standard defining solution.

Adam Meekings' (25) business, Penumbra Power, is a technology start-up committed to the reduction of emissions from vehicle exhaust gasses through their innovation, currently called 'Pre-Treatment'. The internal combustion engine is set to be around for a long time and the UK automotive council's most forward looking roadmap up to 2050 still expects continuing IC development, particularly in commercial vehicles. As a result, the emissions associated with these engines will be under continuing scrutiny for the foreseeable future. Pembra Power's product would be retrofitted to current exhaust systems and would replace part, or all, of current after-treatment systems used in trucks and vehicles, improving air quality and significantly reducing emissions.

Maneesh Varshney (29) from Naturosys, creates organic fertiliser and fish feed from food waste. Last year the UK produced 13 million tonnes of food waste, costing the economy billions. This waste is either sent to landfill or to composting facilities with a considerable loss in valuable nutrients. Naturosys intends to harness these wasted nutrients by converting them into fertiliser and animal feed ingredients to make healthy animal feed, while at the same time reducing dependence on landfills and composting facilities.

In addition to their funding award, each of the monthly winners will participate in Shell LiveWIRE's mentoring programme, which matches entrepreneurs with Shell experts for tailored business development support. All of the eventual 12 monthly winners from 2015 will then compete for the title of Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the opportunity to receive an additional grant of £25,000 (US $38,900) in Q1 of 2016.

Commenting on his win, Mason Holden said, "We are hugely honoured to be named the February winner of the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme. The award funding will help us launch our first free BikeVault pilot scheme at the University of Dundee and increase cycling rates across the city. Our dream is for BikeVault to revolutionise cycling across the UK, by offering a free, secure service that encourages people to rethink how they get around and helps to position cycling as a safe and sustainable travel choice.”

Alina Khasabova, Shell LiveWIRE UK Programme Manager, said, "We expect that by 2030, society will need between 30% and 40% more water, food and other natural resources, and as much as 50% more energy. Entrepreneurs are the innovation hub of our economy, and it's their ingenious ideas that will help meet this energy and resource challenge. The Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme is just one way we are inspiring young people to innovate and provide smart solutions to this pressing societal challenge.”

Check out the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future video here.



Shell LiveWIRE UK inspires young people to create a Smarter Future
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