By Claire West
Successful entrepreneur and founder of Innocent Drinks, Richard Reed, is encouraging London's young innovators to follow in his footsteps as he joins the Mayor, Boris Johnson's panel of judges in seeking the Low Carbon Entrepreneur of 2014.
With one week to go entries for the £20,000 prize are already flooding in. Richard Reed will join high flying businesswoman of Dragons' Den fame, Deborah Meaden, and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith MP, to judge the 10 final entries in a Dragons' Den style contest in May.
Richard Reed's story began when, with a group of university friends, he co-founded the sustainable Innocent Drinks brand in 1999. From one simple idea, a lot of passion and some traditional perseverance and hard work they made their dream a reality. He now wants to help the next generation do the same.
He said: "I'm delighted to join the judging panel for the Mayor's Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2014. Innocent drinks is proof of what a good idea and sustainable values can achieve and I'm looking forward to helping find more good ideas and encouraging more students to become green entrepreneurs."
London's environmental goods and services sector is already worth more than £25bn. The Mayor's competition, now in its third year, aims to create jobs and growth in the green economy while helping to cut carbon emissions.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "Richard Reed should inspire London's budding young entrepreneurs to put their thinking caps on and help shape a more sustainable future. Today's ideas could help create the next electric cars, solar panels or sustainable energy and will go on to foster jobs and growth in the capital's green economy while helping to reduce our carbon emissions."
Dragons' Den investor, Deborah Meaden said: "When judging I look for the potential of an idea to make a positive difference, I want to be excited by what it could achieve while still seeing that the plans are realistic." The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Siemens Crystal on Wednesday 4th June. All applicants can choose to be considered for up to 6 paid internships with the competition sponsor, Siemens. Roland Aurich, Chief Executive Siemens plc, said: "Innovative cities and businesses are looking for the next ideas that will help us all achieve an affordable, low carbon economy. This prize is a fantastic catalyst for bringing those new ideas to a practical solution; I'd encourage any eligible student to enter."
NUS President for Society and Citizenship, Dom Anderson said: "Helping students develop new skills to thrive in our changing economy is a huge part of our work at NUS, and that's why this competition is so exciting to me".