Share on Share on Google+ Posted on: 14/03/2017

Now in its third year, the Chivas Venture has to date received almost 6,000 applications across six continents from startups that are striving to use innovation and enterprise to make the world a better place. The vision of the future as imagined by this year’s finalists is a place where protein bars are made from crickets and shoes made from garbage; where walls of moss clean city air and human waste is turned into affordable cooking fuel.



At the Skoll Centre at the world-renowned University of Oxford, 30 of the brightest startups from across the globe were unveiled as finalists of the Chivas Venture - a global search to discover and reward the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs. Each finalist will travel to Los Angeles in July to compete for a share of $1 million to make their dream of creating a better future for the world a reality.

Now in its third year, the Chivas Venture has to date received almost 6,000 applications across six continents from startups that are striving to use innovation and enterprise to make the world a better place. The vision of the future as imagined by this year’s finalists is a place where protein bars are made from crickets and shoes made from garbage; where walls of moss clean city air and human waste is turned into affordable cooking fuel.

One finalist will represent each of the 30 participating countries at the hotly-anticipated Chivas Venture Final in Los Angeles in July. There they will brush shoulders with some of the biggest names in business and entertainment, and have just five minutes to impress the expert judging panel with their world-changing ideas and deliver the pitch of their lives.

In preparation for the Chivas Venture Final, the 30 finalists have travelled to Oxford to take part in a transformational Accelerator Week programme created by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship embedded within the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. During an intensive five days of learning, the finalists have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, take part in practical workshops and be inspired by global experts on critical topics that affect social startups.

Andrea Warriner, Deputy Director of the Skoll Centre, commented:

In today’s uncertain political and economic climate, social enterprise has never played a more important role in securing a better future for our society. There’s an incredible pool of entrepreneurs in the Final 30 of this year’s Chivas Venture competition, who we believe really have what it takes to make a difference. We’ve got a great programme lined up for this week, and we look forward to being inspired by our finalists, while giving them an unforgettable experience.”

 Richard Black, Chivas Regal Global Brand Director, added:

“We were blown away by the calibre of entries for this year’s Chivas Venture competition. The businesses are a great example of the ingenuity and passion of entrepreneurs across the world who are committed to creating a better world for generations to come. The founders of Chivas Regal were entrepreneurs who gave back to their community, and by discovering and supporting startups who too give back to the wider global community, the Chivas Venture is continuing their legacy. At Chivas we firmly believe that generosity and success go hand-in-hand – and when you share your success with others, business becomes truly rewarding.”

From Monday 1st May to Sunday 4th June, the public will be able to show their support for their favourite finalist through a live vote. Over the course of five weeks, the public’s vote will determine how the first $250,000 in funding is split among the finalists. The winner(s) of the remaining $750,000 in funding will be decided on Thursday 13th July at the Chivas Venture Final in Los Angeles, after a high-stakes pitch in front of the judges and a live audience.


To learn more about each of the Chivas Venture finalists, visit their pages at


The Chivas Venture Finalists








Alejandro Malgor


Xinca is making the ugly beautiful again by upcycling waste materials into premium footwear. As well as helping the environment, they provide job opportunities to those who are marginalised from society: they collaborate with inmates from the San Felipe prison in Mendoza to assemble their sneakers, using old tyres and textile waste rescued from landfill. Their shoes are garbage - and they’re proud of it.


Words with Heart

Lauren Shuttleworth

CEO & Founder

Words with Heart cover their eco-friendly stationery with empowering words, and use proceeds from sales to fund education projects for women and girls in the developing world.  In partnership with charities, the company supports primary and high school education, financial literacy and small business training. Words with Heart use 100% recycled paper, vegetable based inks and solar electricity.



Michael Van Cutsem


BeeOdiversity uses bees to protect bees, food diversity and the welfare of everyone. They analyze samples collected by bees from billions of flowers, enabling them to monitor biodiversity and pollution, and to advise corporations and local authorities on environmental actions such as replanting specific seeds and stopping pesticide use in the most affected areas.



Júlio Oliveto Alves

Director of Innovation

The Kit Livre (“Kit Free”) transforms any simple wheelchair into an electric tricycle. It enables users to ride in style through the obstacles of urban life and even rougher terrains. Created by twin brothers Júlio and Lúcio Oliveto, Livre aims to increase the mobility and self-confidence of wheelchair users. 


Sea Harmony

Kornelia Dimitrova


Sea Harmony has developed mussel farms in the shape of vertical reefs that can be placed in open sea areas.  Their aim is to restore marine ecosystems in coastal areas affected by pollution and irresponsible fishing practices. Mussels have the unique ability to enhance water quality for other species to grow (shrimps, fish), and they are also a sustainable source of protein for human consumption.


First Respond

Robin Jun Lu


First Respond’s mission is to establish "mutual aid" as a new social norm in China. They provide high-quality first-aid training to individuals in office building, schools, and residential areas, so that people know what to do, and are not afraid to act in an emergency. They have already saved lives in large sporting events such as marathons.



Álvaro Vásquez

Manager and Owner

Bioestibas produces ecological stowage from flower waste that would otherwise be polluting the environment. Their pallets are created without cutting a single tree; instead they collect hydrangea stems from flower growers, and turn them into sustainable products that are optimized to also reduce storage and transportation costs.

Czech Republic

SENS Foods

Daniel Vach


SENS Foods teamed up with top chef Peter Ocknecht to create protein bars made with cricket flour. By using crickets instead of beef, SENS has saved 2 tons of feed, 700,000 litres of water and greenhouse gasses equivalent to a road trip around the world. SENS are now planning to create a whole new range of sustainable, next-gen food products.

Dominican Republic


Daniel Dalet


Clarke’s Organics processes coconuts to produce their ‘SoloCoco’ organic product range, which includes coconut oil, flour, water, soaps and lotions. Working with Fair Trade, they train and employ mostly single mothers, to help raise awareness of hiring this demographic, which is very large and under-privileged in Latin America.


Green City Solutions

Liang Wu

Co-Founder & CIO

Green City Solutions has created the “CityTree”, which helps combat air pollution in urban areas. CityTree combines moss culture and Internet-of-Things technology to filter fine dust, nitrogen oxides and CO2 from the air - having the same effect as 275 urban trees but using 99% less space.



Marios-Ermis Petrotos


Laddroller is an eco-friendly and affordable standing wheelchair, which allows people with disabilities to stand up and move around. The wheelchair elevates the user by the motion of the wheels, helping users to perform everyday tasks, improving their health and quality of life.


NOW Money

Katharine Budd

Co-Founder & CEO

NOW Money is a mobile banking app for low-income migrant workers, who are currently excluded from the financial system. It provides them with a current account, as well as a remittance marketplace, where users can compare rates and send money back home directly from the app.

Hong Kong


Michelle Bang

 Founder & CEO

B Y T is an up-cycled fashion brand launching in September 2017. Their clothes & accessories are made from surplus luxury fabrics, ensuring a sustainable and socially responsible supply chain. The designer of B Y T apparel, Kévin Germanier, was the winner of The EcoChic Design Award.



Mark Istvan


NowTechnologies aims to deliver affordable solutions to electric wheelchair users, enabling them to interact with computers, thus providing them with the potential to communicate, and even study or work. Their headset, for example, serves the needs of tetraplegic wheelchair users by capturing and processing head and eye movements, acting as a head mouse.



Dr. Son Preminger

 Founder & CEO

Intendu aids brain rehabilitation through the use of video games, involving body movements in real-life scenarios, and adapting in real time to the needs of its users. The technology can be used at home or by therapists, training people with cognitive impairments due to various brain conditions. 



Toshio Yamada

CEO & Founder

Factelier is an online fashion brand that sells clothes from Japanese factories direct to consumers. By cutting out the middleman, they are protecting healthy profit margins for the manufacturers, who set their own prices.  Factelier’s mission is to revive craftsmanship and economic activity in rural Japan, through world-class fashion.



Dickson Ochieng

Director of Government Relations

Sanivation installs container-based toilets in people’s homes for free, and then charges a monthly fee to service them. The Sanivation team treats waste as a resource, by transforming it into a clean burning alternative to charcoal. Their sanitation services are improving health and dignity in urban communities of East Africa, as well as refugee camps.


FOLO Farms

Khi Sui (Will) Chua


FOLO (Feed Our Loved Ones) is an urban farming community aiming to change the way people view waste and how food is grown. They recover 3 tonnes of daily food waste from hotels and restaurants, and turn it into compost to grow healthy organic vegetables for a community of 100 families.



Ernesto Rodriguez-Leal

Founder & CEO

WeaRobot is creating affordable exoskeleton technology to assist those who suffer from mobility loss. Aside from being 46 times cheaper than existing solutions on the market, they are also better tailored to individual needs, as they are created in parts. WeaRobot also uses VR technology to enable physical rehabilitation at home and connect patients to doctors remotely.



Chioma Ukonu

Co-Founder & COO

RecyclePoints helps consumers to create value from their everyday waste. RecyclePoints uses an incentive based model, collecting waste from registered members and rewards them with points, which they can use to redeem or shop for cash and household items at the iRecycle Store. RecyclePoints use Electric Cargo Tricycles to collect the waste, ridden by members of the team called ‘WasteBusters’.


African Clean Energy

Judith Joan Walker


African Clean Energy manufactures and distributes clean energy products for Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Their ACE 1 cookstove enables safe cooking without smoke emissions, preventing the associated health hazards that kill 4 million people annually around the world. The ACE cookstove also provides solar energy for lighting and phone charging, generating great savings for vulnerable households.



Adam Kuzdraliński


NexBio uses biotechnology to detect crop diseases early, so that more food, of better quality, using fewer pesticides can be produced. Their DNA-based approach enables the rapid identification and diagnosis of plant diseases, in a faster and cheaper way than traditional methods. NexBio is also currently developing a mobile ‘Lab in a box’ solution that will enable farmers to conduct pathogen testing directly in the field.


Sun Concept

Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira

Sustainability Director

Sun Concept develops affordable solar electric boats, which are sustainable for the environment and for communities who rely on them for their livelihood. With a fully eco-efficient design, the Sun Concept boats are silent, don’t pollute, and enable fishermen to save on fuels, while preserving the marine ecosystem that sustains them.



Khaled Al Mezayen

Managing Partner

SoWat is a portable water purification system that turns any source of fresh water into clean drinking water, using amechanical process with no chemicals.  It filters particles, parasites and bacteria, whilst preserving all the minerals in the water.  One SoWat system can produce enough daily water for 5,000 people, at a monthly cost of just €0.05 per person.  



Veronika Osvaldová

Co-Founder & CEO

SmartHead is a user-friendly online tool that enables companies and individuals to create and promote their socially-responsible activities. Companies can create a CSR profile on the website. The platform showcases where environmental and community projects are taking place, and encourages people to sign up in their local area. SmartHead aims to inspire everyone to get involved and contribute towards a better society.

South Africa

iDrop Water

James Steere


iDrop Water aims to change the way water is consumed and sold in Africa, through vending units which purify and dispense water in store. The water is sold in refillable containers, reducing plastic waste, while being 80% cheaper than bottled water. iDrop splits profits equally with shop owners, so they are boosting economic activity in communities with every dollar they make.



François van den Abeele



Every pair of Sea2see eyewear contributes to 10m2 of a plastic-free ocean.  Sea2see works with fishing communities to collect 1 ton of plastic waste every 3 days, specifically fishing nets which are often abandoned and entangle animals; they transform this waste into designer glasses and sunglasses. Consumers can now save the ocean in style.


Siam Organic

“Neil” Peetachai Dejkraisak


Siam Organic has developed the Jasberry brand with the aim of ending small-scale farmers’ poverty, by giving them access to the global organic market. Jasberry rice is a purple variety of rice with three times the antioxidants of blueberry. By providing farmers with rice seeds and training them in organic farming methods, Siam Organic have already enabled farmers to earn 14 times more profit.



Tessa Cook

Co-Founder & CEO

OLIO is a free app that connects neighbours with one other and with local shops, so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.  This includes food nearing its use-by date from shops or groceries from household fridges when people go away.Users post a photo, add a description and provide pick up details so that their food items can be collected by those who need them.


DayOne Response

Tricia Compas-Markman

Founder & CEO

The DayOne Waterbag is a 10-litre water backpack enabling the collection, treatment, transportation and storage of water. The Waterbag purifies contaminated water into clean drinking water in only 30 minutes. DayOne Response deploys its solution to multiple international NGOs and government organisations. Its compact and lightweight format allows fast and cost-effective shipping, which is particularly useful for natural disaster relief.

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