The judges from Sharktower, HappyPorch, Scottish Enterprise and FutureX selected Bara Wahbeh (AKYAS Sanitation), Jenifer Clausell-Tormos (Develop Diverse), Barry Leaper (LiberEat) and Dr Faisal Ghani (SolarisKit) to progress from the semi-finals which took place virtually on 29th & 30th March.
It was a tough choice for the judges but we can't wait to see those four pitch live at Impact Summit 2021 this May!
Wastewater treatment plant in a bag to serve communities in water-scarce and emergency settings.
AKYAS innovates sanitation solutions for the base of the pyramid population. One of their flagship products is a bag that serves as a wastewater treatment plant; and the best part – the bag will disappear, leaving behind nutrient-rich soil conditioner! They launched a pilot in an informal agricultural settlement, a public park, and are partnering with Oxfam to operate in the Za’atari Refugee Camp. They are planning to validate market segments in various settings, and study further the impacts of their treated wastes on soil. AKYAS welcomes you to join them in closing the loop for a circular sanitation economy!
Bara, the “Toilet Guy”, is the co-founder and CTO of AKYAS, a venture in sanitation innovation. He is a self-taught sanitation practitioner who found his passion for building sanitation facilities from local materials. Trained as an environmental engineer, he had the privilege of learning from amazing professionals across disciplines in non-profit settings. Currently based in Amman, Jordan, Bara is an emerging entrepreneur in the sanitation business. He is leading his venture to go further beyond Jordan, to serve communities in water-scarce and emergency settings.
An inclusive writing platform that enables companies to attract diverse and qualified talent.
Develop Diverse’s vision is to create equal opportunities by normalising diversity using tech. Develop Diverse is an inclusive writing platform with a strong scientific base and powered by AI, which makes corporate communication inclusive while helps the user unlearn their unconscious bias. The platform detects biased language for different diversity groups: gender, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, physical disabilities, and LGBTQ+. One of their customers, Amazon, has experienced an increase of up to 4x more qualified and diverse applicants when making their job descriptions inclusive using Develop Diverse. They have more than 600 users in 35 different countries over 5 continents.
Jenifer Clausell-Tormos holds a PhD in Technology Development and held positions both at universities and in industry as a scientific researcher. In her career, first, she leveraged tech to accelerate the process of finding new medicines; and after 10 years, her drive for gender balance and diversity brought her to use her expertise in tech, this time, to close the gender and diversity gap by founding Develop Diverse. For +4y, Jenifer has been a researcher, speaker, and trainer in the field of Diversity & Inclusion.
Scotland, UK 🇬🇧
Making food easier and safer for people with dietary requirements.
LiberEat was founded to make life safer and easier for those with dietary requirements such as food allergies, intolerances and medical condition or ethical related restrictions.
LiberEat’s unique allergen identification technology can significantly reduce food businesses’ risk of causing injury to customers through errors in allergen communication, and our consumer app shows users exactly what they and their families can have when grocery shopping, eating out or cooking at home.
Partners already include Pret, All Bar One, Miler & Carter, Browns, O’Neill’s and Harvester and the app is growing at a rate of several thousand users per month.
Barry Leaper founded LiberEat with Louise Cahill as a result of personal experience. Louise, as a busy nurse, struggled with her food allergies and Barry’s wife and mother had similar issues. Barry previously worked in Finance and founding LiberEat was an opportunity to work on something he really cared about with the potential to make a real difference to people with dietary restrictions.
Scotland, UK 🇬🇧
The world’s first flat-packable solar thermal collector to provide affordable, clean energy to the global south.
With carbon emissions from developing economies exceeding those produced from the industrialised nations, and 50% of global energy consumed to meet heating demand, there is an urgent need for affordable and practical clean heating solutions to tackle the climate emergency and improve access to clean energy. SolarisKit has developed the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal collector to address this issue, an IKEA like device which can be assembled quickly and easily without requiring a single tool. Once assembled, their solar collector can convert sunlight into hot water for households, businesses and industry reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.
Faisal Ghani is a chartered mechanical engineer with a PhD specialising in solar energy technology. Faisal has worked in the solar energy field for 15 years, working in both academia (RMIT University, Australia) and industry. Faisal founded SolarisKit in 2019 after learning that households in Rwanda were forced to spend a significant portion of their household income on heating water for hygiene and cleaning purposes. He consequently invented the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal collector to reduce cost and simplify transportation and installation of solar heating technology. Faisal is a previous winner of the Converge Impact Challenge, recipient of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship, and won the 2020 MSDUK Innovation Challenge Social Innovation category.
Congratulations to the four finalists!
They will be pitching live (virtually) in front of our panel of judges and the Impact Summit 2021 audience on Thursday 20th May. The winner, taking a prize worth £20k+ will be announced live on the same day at the event!