LSE Careers Entrepreneurship has announced that Katerina Kimmorley, co-founder of Pollinate Energy, is ‘LSE Student Entrepreneur of the Year’.
Katerina was chosen by a panel of judges which included top business leaders and LSE staff from a field of seven teams with projects including social and mobile innovations from students across the School. Each group gave presentations describing their progress since receiving funding from the LSE Careers Entrepreneurship project.
Over the past year LSE Careers Entrepreneurship has engaged with almost 2,000 students and alumni at various stages of inspiration and action. The seven shortlisted teams all showed the passion, confidence and ability which characterises successful entrepreneurs.
Katerina is a postgraduate student in LSE’s department of Geography and Environment. Her social business, Pollinate Energy, provides solar lighting and other sustainable, affordable products in India’s urban slums. Katerina and her fellow co-founders recognised the huge social, health and environmental urgency to solve energy poverty in India, where over 300 million people live without access to energy; more than in any other country.
During the tough judging process, Pollinate Energy was particularly commended for the scale of the business’s growth during its eighteen months of operation. A strong commitment to sustainability and inspiring entrepreneurial potential in others was also noted: local people are employed as ‘Pollinators’ to run their own mini enterprise and sell the various products in their own communities. The team is also part of an International Fellowship Scheme which both provides the business with an additional source of income and brings together young entrepreneurs from all over the globe who assist with the Pollinate project whilst developing their own enterprises.
On being awarded LSE Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, Katerina said “LSE has supported Pollinate Energy from its beginnings when it was just an idea, to today when we are providing solar lights in over 500 urban slums; receiving this award is just the icing on the cake!
“Winning this award is a wonderful demonstration of LSE’s commitment to the practical application of research at the nexus of two of the world’s greatest challenges, poverty and climate change.
“It’s empowering to have the support of LSE at this pivotal time in our growth. This year we will be replicating our model in our second Indian city to show that we can do it across the fifty three other cities in India which have over 1 million people. The funding and support couldn’t come at better time.”
Given the high quality of the teams this year, the judging panel decided to award an additional prize of ‘LSE Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year’. This title was given to Kirsty Kenney and Harold Craston, founders of Solarbox, which aims to turn London’s disused telephone kiosks into solar powered public charging points for smart phones. Kirsty and Harold, both undergraduates in the department of Geography and Environment, are no strangers to success having recently won funding from the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize.
Notes to editors
For the latest news from LSE Careers Entrepreneurship follow: @entrepreneurlse
For more information about Pollinate energy see: http://pollinateenergy.org/
For more information about Solarbox see: @solarboxlondon
23 June 2014