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16 November 2021

Battle of Minds: and the winners are…

The winners of Battle of Minds, BAT’s global business competition, have been announced!

Battle of Minds 2021, running for a third time and now in partnership with BAT’s corporate venture arm, Btomorrow Ventures (BTV), aims to discover the brightest, early-career business minds around the globe.

This year’s contest was focused on ESG, with each team pitching to solve a challenge focused on culture, farming, waste or energy. ESG is a key driver of BAT’s transformation journey to build A Better Tomorrow™ for all stakeholders and is at the core of our business.

The competition saw 2,700+ teams enter from 27 countries, back in May. After a total of 31 local rounds they were whittled down to a final 12, who attended last week’s virtual final.

The winners were Team Ijo, from Indonesia who impressed the judges with their proposal to produce environmentally friendly, edible straws made of seaweed. Ijo will receive up to £50,000 from BTV, to implement the idea. They will also be considered for a place on an upcoming accelerator programme for start-ups, which is run by BTV and BAT’s ESG team.

The three runners up, from Egypt, Kenya and Venezuela, won up to a £25,000 investment each from BTV, with all winning teams also landing employment opportunities as Global Graduates or interns across BAT.

Team Ijo

The three runners-ups’ ideas were:

  • Team Egypt: creating a high-quality gelatine out of marine waste.
  • Team Kenya: recycling cigarette butts to make planters for urban farming and manure for cultivation.
  • Team Venezuela: aiming to reduce energy poverty by generating an alternative and clean source of energy from plant photosynthesis.

Yulia Begemann, BAT’s Group Head of Talent Acquisition, said: “The standard of entries this year was remarkable and it was incredibly tough to decide on a winner.

“Battle of Minds is now a fixture in the BAT calendar and provides a wonderful platform for these early career talents to contribute to our A Better Tomorrow transformation journey.”

Participants were tasked with developing an innovative product and were judged on the following criteria:

  • Strong original idea.
  • Solid depth of research and analytics.
  • Business feasibility.
  • High-quality business plan.
  • Presentation skills and teamwork.

The promotional campaign for Battle of Minds via our social media channels produced impressive results, reaching 7 million people (up 87% on last year), and generating 35.5 million impressions (+35%).

On the BAT judging panel this year were: Lukasz Garbowski, BTV Investment Director; Marcos Salvadego, Group Head of Leaf; Tracy Oates – Senior ESG Policy & Engagement Manager; and Ase Bergstedt, Sustainability Capability Manager.

Keen to participate in next year’s Battle of Minds competition? Follow BAT on LinkedIn  to find out more.