Last week, UCL School of Management hosted the inaugural Pitch Day of the UCL SoM SustainTech Pitching Competition on Level 50 of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf. In collaboration with SustainTech consulting company Tecno International, the competition supports pioneering individuals with fresh ideas that are looking to champion a resilient and sustainable future.
On the day, our finalists pitched their ground-breaking startup ideas to a panel of experts, including Micol Chiesa Churchill, Partner and Head of Impact at Planet Fund, and Julie Blane, Co-Founder of Sustainable Women’s Network. Other jury members included Salvatore Amitrano, Managing Director of Tecno International and Professor Paolo Taticchi, Professor in Strategy and Sustainability at UCL School of Management.
Each finalist competed for the chance of winning one of three prizes: Best Pitch, Best Idea and Audience Choice Award, with the winning team in each category taking home a £1,000 cash prize, 12 months of Business and Technical Mentorship and introductions to Tecno International’s business partners.
BioBright took home the prize for Best Pitch. They impressed the judges with their innovative algae solutions. Their range of products, which they displayed for the judges, offer alternative decorations that help to limit the waste caused by the mass ordering of plants and flowers.
Sahel AI won the Best Idea Award, with the startup aiming to accelerate sustainable and responsible AI adoption in Africa. The business explores the implementation of AI risk management, as well as the promotion of AI research and education.
Finally, Phyta Biodesign won the audience over with their modular panel system known as ‘Apia’, which is made of a natural and sustainable material that provides a safe haven for solitary bees in large cities.
While we celebrate the winners of the UCL SoM SustainTech Pitching Competition, it is important to also acknowledge the exceptional ideas and dedication demonstrated by our other finalists. The passion they displayed only further underscores the promising future of sustainable innovation in our community.
Finally, we were privileged to have Allegra Fortunato, Tecno International’s Head of Strategy, as our keynote speaker. She described what “SustainTech” entails, why it matters for businesses and future trends in that space.
Discussing the event, the event organisers Paolo Taticchi and Pierre-Jean (PJ) Hanard said, “Together with Tecno International, the UCL School of Management launched the SustainTech Pitching Competition to support our staff, researchers, students and alumni who are eager to pave the way toward a more sustainable future. Today, we have seen more than just pitches. We have glimpsed into a future where sustainability is not a choice, but a way of life, and where sustainable practices are not the exception, but the norm. We look forward to continuing to empower the UCL community through entrepreneurship in their pursuit of a more sustainable world.”
Blogs from the winners
Make sure to check out the winning team’s blogs and learn more about their start-up and their experience taking part in the SustainTech Pitching Competition.
Interestd in taking part in the 2024 Competition? Head to our new webpage to learn more.