WithLula crowned 2018 Mayor's Entrepreneur

18 April 2018

WithLula wins £20,000 Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition

Biodegradable sanitary products impressed panel of expert judges

  • Students from Imperial College London have won £20,000 investment in their start-up from the Mayor of London.
  • WithLula beat nine other shortlisted projects to the £20,000 prize in the final of this year’s Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition at City Hall.
  • Entrants were asked to create a business idea which sought to tackle one of the big environmental challenges facing the capital – from reducing plastic waste to increasing public access to drinking water.
  • The winners will invest the money in developing their product: zero-waste, fully-flushable sanitary products delivered directly to customers.
  • A total of 675 students from 37 higher education institutions submitted 468 entries to this year’s contest. The shortlist of ten finalists represented six London universities.
  • As well as the main prize, as part of the Mayor’s gender equality campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity, ten women who entered will be selected for mentoring to help them take the next step in their careers.
  • This aligns with the priorities of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s ‘Women4Climate initiative’, a global mentorship programme to build the next generation of female climate leaders in cities around the world.
  • City Hall will also provide ongoing mentoring for all the finalists to help them develop their ideas and take their businesses to market

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I congratulate WithLula on their success. Their product is an innovative concept and I look forward to seeing this project develop in the future.”

One of the winners, Aaron Koshy of WithLula, said: “We’re so excited to have won the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition.  With the £20,000 funding we’ll be able to start small-scale manufacturing and have the product available for Londoners by the end of the year through our website. We can’t wait to work with the team at City Hall to get our business off the ground.”

Member of the judging panel and CEO of Stemettes, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, said: “My congratulations go to the winner and all the finalists in this innovative competition. This is a great opportunity for students to showcase their entrepreneurial talent and gain support from the Mayor to make their ideas a reality.”

CEO of Citi UK, James Bardrick said: “I have been deeply impressed by the ideas presented today at the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition. London’s students are clearly committed to solving some of London’s biggest environmental and social challenges through the power of innovation and business. They have also demonstrated that they have the skills and ambition to succeed.

“At Citi we recognise the importance of helping young people develop entrepreneurial and innovative mind-sets, so that they are empowered and career ready. The Citi Foundation has therefore made a commitment to support young people with $100 million to reach 500,000 young people with training and jobs worldwide over three years as part of its Pathways to Progress initiative. I’m proud that we are supporting London’s young people through the Mayor’s Competition.”


Cardios – University College London (Gabriel Lee, Ragav Manimaran and Jaime Valdemoros)

A system which helps people with heart failure to self-monitor their conditions, with the aim of reducing readmissions to hospital and improving patient outcomes.


Chakra - University College London (Yashvini Shukla, Harshavan Mahendran and Aelf Vandelbegin)

A reusable drink cup vending system designed to replace disposable coffee cups. The machine offers cashback to consumers depositing their cups, which are then washed and reused.


Chip[s] Board – Kingston University London (Rowan Minkley and Rob Nicoll)

A biodegradable alternative to chipboard and MDF made from potato waste, which contains no toxic resins or chemicals.


Carbon Negative Permeable Pavement System – University of Greenwich (Kamal Farid)

The world’s first carbon-negative road paving. During its lifetime, each square metre captures the same amount of carbon as a medium-sized tree.


Electric Vehicle Charging Network – University of Westminster (Allen Alexander Coppin)

A new online system supporting communities to share personal charging points, to make it easier for drivers to switch to electric vehicles.


Gridplug London – Imperial College London (Luke Jones and Rose Armitage)

A simple 'plug and play' device which allows users to let the grid manage their electrical appliances and save energy.


Liveli – Imperial College London (William Darby, David Cordell and Jamie Harbour)

A new service for landlords which saves energy and money: energy saving measures are installed in rented properties, the cash saved from which is then reinvested into fresh schemes to save energy.


Musa X – London School of Economics (Lucas Fuhrmann and Valentin Jahn)

A fresh way of making sustainable textiles using waste from bananas.


Soluboard – Royal College of Art (Jack Herring)

A new material which could change the printed circuit board industry forever. It has been designed to break down in water, making it much easier to reclaim and reuse electronic parts.


WithLula – Imperial College London (Aaron Koshy, Dr. Olivia Ahn, Shyam Anjaria and Gunangad Arora)

An eco-friendly sanitary pad, which is quick and easy to dispose of and doesn't cause harmful waste.


  • Shirley Rodrigues – Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy
  • Marie-Christine Olive- Managing Director, Citi EMEA Head, Natural Resources
  • Richard Reed CBE – Founder, Innocent Drinks
  • Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE – CEO, Stemettes
  • Sophie Jarvis – Programme Director, The Entrepreneurs Network
  • Garry Moore – Founder, Propelair
  • Sophia Thakur – Host

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