Sustainable and inexpensive alternative for cement to replace dirt floors improves lives and cuts CO2 emissions

The Rwandan start-up EarthEnable is the winner of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017. During the finale, co-founder Gayatri Datar impressed the international jury with her sustainable alternative for cement to replace dirt floors. As the winner, she receives a cheque of €500,000 to further develop her green innovation. The runner-up prize of €200,000 goes to the biodegradable alternative for plastic by the Danish start-up Pond. This year, the other three finalists were also surprised to each receive €100,000. This brings the total prize pool of one of the biggest sustainability competitions in the world to €1 million.


Journalist Max Christern was chief of the Economic Desk of Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and editor-in-chief of The Optimist (formerly Ode). Since 2011 he runs his own company, MOC Media. He writes, presents and is board challenger, primarily in the fields of leadership, sustainability and innovation. Max has been hosting the final of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge for several years. We talked to him about his role as presenter and trends in sustainable entrepreneurship.


Jim Walker is co-founder of The Climate Group, an international NGO sharing best practices on climate change solutions, and currently works on solutions to the world’s water crisis with the NGO Thirst. He has been a valued jury member of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge since the start in 2007. We talked with him about what defines a good start-up and what the jury is actually looking for. 


Henri is the founder of ARED (African Renewable Energy Distributor). He is one of the 2017 finalists. After graduation, he soon realised that he was an entrepreneur at heart, and founded a trucking and construction businesses in both the US and Burundi. However, the green sector is his true passion.


Lex Hoefsloot from the Netherlands is one of the five finalists of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017. His love for electric cars started when he was in university. As a student, he co-founded the award-winning Solar Team Eindhoven.


Gayatri Datar is the founder of EarthEnable, a Rwandan start-up. Gayatri is one of the five finalists of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017. A semester in college spent doing tsunami relief work in India led her to conclude that she wanted to spend the rest of her life making a difference. While at Stanford, she signed up for a class from the famous D School, Design for Extreme Affordability.


Sandra Rey from France is one of the five finalists of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017. After watching a documentary about bioluminescence, she had a vision of a world lit by an inexhaustible, living and eco-friendly light source. After a law was passed in France that forbids retailers to light their shop windows between 1:00 am and 7:00 am to limit light pollution and energy consumption, Sandra was inspired and co-founded Glowee.


Thomas Pedersen from Denmark is one of the five finalists of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017. His interest in composite materials started with a young boy’s interest in creating surfboards back in the 1980s. It was an age dominated by conventional production methods and with a limited focus on sustainable products.



Leila Janah is the founder and CEO of Samasource, an international social enterprise that connects marginalised people in Kenya, Uganda and India to digital work. Having served on the jury of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge in 2013, this year she’s chairing it.



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