Australian Startup Receives $40,000 in No-Strings Funding from Chivas Venture Competition

Social Enterprise Competition Announces Response to Urgent Need for Global Action, Splitting $1m Prize Between All 26 Finalists

LONDON, April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Leading blended Scotch whisky, Chivas, has announced today that due to the current global COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s Chivas Venture $1 million fund will be distributed evenly amongst the 26 global finalists, including Australian’s Okra Solar, with immediate effect. 

Now in its sixth year, the Chivas Venture gives away $1m in no-strings funding to startups who blend profit with purpose to have a positive impact on the world. This year’s competition has seen 26 social enterprises selected from 26 countries, across five continents, with Okra Solar winning the local final in Australia. Okra Solar – who was due to pitch for a share of the fund at a Global Final in June – will now receive $40,000 in funding, which can be put towards creating positive change at a testing time for people across the globe.

Pernod Ricard Chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard comments: "It is with great sadness that we have decided to cut short this year’s Chivas Venture competition due to the impact COVID-19 is having across the world. Now more than ever, our world needs the passion and dedication of those who want to bring about positive change. That’s why we have decided that each of our finalists should be provided with secure funding now, so they can continue their important work and continue to positively impact their communities in spite of these volatile conditions, which will be particularly challenging for fledgling businesses and the communities they serve." 

This year’s finalists have found unique and creative ways to tackle a wide range of social, environmental and economic challenges, many of which have been exacerbated by the global pandemic, especially in at risk, or isolated communities. Okra Solar designs and develops plug-and-play smart grid technology to provide tools specifically for energy utilities in countries with large off-grid populations, ensuring remote communities have access to sustainable power solutions. 

"We are extremely grateful to have been a part of this year’s Chivas Venture and the opportunity this has given Okra Solar. Due to the current global pandemic, we fully understand and support the decision to curtail the competition and split the prize between so many worthy social entrepreneurs. The decision will help us continue to make a positive impact in a multitude of communities." – Damian Veling, Co-founder of Okra Solar.

To date, the Chivas Venture has given away $5 million in no-strings funding to social startups who have positively impacted over 2 million lives across 50 countries – driving major change, including providing 34 million litres of safe drinking water to communities, recycling 1,300 tonnes of waste, helping over 2,500 farmers’ families out of poverty and funding over 75,000 days of education for women and girls.

Just as Chivas champions the perfect blend of malt and grain whiskies in its Scotch, the Chivas Venture champions entrepreneurs who blend profit and purpose to have a positive impact on the world. To find out more about the Chivas Venture and to learn more about this year’s finalists, visit or follow on Twitter @ChivasVenture.



Chivas Venture Finalists by Country







Guillermo Pepe

Mamotest’s central objective is to reduce the death rate of breast cancer
by supporting women who do not have the economic resources to access
quality breast cancer diagnosis.


Okra Solar

Damian Veling

Okra Solar designs and develops technology to give access to energy and
electricity to those who live off-grid. 


Oak Tree Projects 

Danae Van Dan Bossche

Oak Tree Projects provides affordable, co-housing accommodation for
people with disabilities.



Tomas Abrahao

Raizs is an online platform that connects organic farmers directly with
consumers to put an end to food wastage and poverty.


Enova H2O

Huseyin Yemendzhiev

Enova H2O develops innovative instruments and services for better and
faster water quality management.


Tandem Technical

Heather Ward

Tandem helps greenhouse gas emitters across a range of industries
capture and convert pollution from a liability into an asset.


Wheel the World

Alvaro Silberstein

Wheel the World is a web platform where users can easily find and book
holidays for people with disabilities.



Jane Zhao

P.E.T. creates textiles made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Through
the creation of products like scarves and aprons, they are helping to
reduce environmental pollution and plan to recycle 1 million plastic bottles
by 2021.


Recupera Tu Silla 

Maria Sanchez

Recupera tu Silla is a furniture restoration business with both
environmental and social impact. It extends the life of furniture, saving
businesses and clients up to 75% in expenses and providing employment
opportunities to people in vulnerable conditions. 

England & Wales


Thomas Fudge

WASE develops decentralised wastewater treatment systems that
embrace a circular economy to recover energy, nutrients and water in
wastewater – providing sanitation and energy in under-served



Georgios Nikoletakis

100mentors connect students from underprivileged schools with mentors,
creating a learning experience where students become more engaged,
confident and conscious learners.



Anais Ryterband

Pandobac is an ecological and sustainable, zero-waste solution that offers
a service of reusable crates to food wholesalers for fresh produce



Oshik Efrati

HomeBiogas produces a unique appliance that transforms organic waste
into biogas and fertiliser; providing a solution that addresses multiple
issues including cooking on unclean fuels, waste and sanitation.



Lorenzo Di Ciaccio

Pedius is an app that allows the hard of hearing to ‘hear’ phone calls by
converting speech to text in real time.



Robin Lewis

MyMizu is Japan’s first free water refill platform that guides people to
public water fountains, eco-friendly cafes, coworking spaces, hotels and
other businesses that offer free refills around the country. Through the
app, users can access free drinking water instead of buying bottled water
to reduce consumption of single-use plastic bottles. 


Green-Nettle Textile

Jonah Mwangi

Green-Nettle Textile creates fabric from stinging nettles. By converting the
nettle stalks into a linen-like fabric, Green-Nettle is able to produce an eco-
fabric out of natural – rather than synthetic – materials, and employ
thousands of artisans across the globe.



Yusef Jacobs

Graviti offers bolt-on financing for basic services such as hot water and
electricity – allowing the 30% of Mexico’s unbanked population access to
pre-pay products, protecting users from unexpected extra costs and
giving access to key infrastructure. 



Brian Tsuyoshi Takeda

Urchinomics is solving the sea urchin problem by turning them into a useful
resource for the economy. Divers collect urchins from the sea and re-
home them in proprietary land-based urchin ranching systems, from where
they are sold onto high-end seafood distributors around the world.


Soupah Farm-en-Market

Ifeoluwa Olatayo

Soupah’s mission is to tackle inefficiencies in the food supply chain in
Nigeria by connecting small scale rural farmers with urban retailers. The
corporation engages in rooftop farms, fortified food processing and farm
linkages for rural smallholders into urban markets.



Josh Brito

MakeGrowLab is working towards a future of plastic-free packaging
material, replacing non-recyclable petroleum-based products with
compostable bio-materials that enrich the environment, rather than
damaging it. The product is durable, non-toxic and can be grown locally
anywhere in the world.



Lorenzo Conti

Crover has created a small robotic device capable of moving within grain
stores to monitor the condition of grains, with the aim of reducing waste
and saving countless grain stocks each year.



Gabriela Chang Valdovinos

EthicHub is a global solution to generate affordable funds for smallholder
farming. The blockchain-based platform allows investors from all over the
world to help those with no access to fair finance; connecting developing
countries and farmers with profitable projects in developed countries. 

South Africa


Nhlanhla Ndlovu

Hustlenomics creates opportunities for women and youths by training them
to replace informal backyard shacks with durable structures, using
innovative building technology. Hustlenomics offers low income
households an opportunity to build durable structures at no additional cost.



Thanakorn Phromyos

YoungHappy is a happy community for senior citizens, providing events
and support groups that help seniors maintain an active lifestyle, while
building their self-esteem and keeping them engaged with their peers.


Strella Biotechnology 

Katherine Sizov

Strella creates biosensing platforms that can predict the ripeness of
produce within the supply chain, reducing food wastage prior to
consumption by 40%.


Cricket One

Bicky Nguyen

Cricket One reduces agricultural waste and creates a valuable protein
source by using the populous, safe and highly nutritious, cricket. 


Source: Australian Startup Receives ,000 in No-Strings Funding from Chivas Venture Competition