Recognising UK alumni who are active in initiating or contributing to innovative and creative new ideas and solutions, and/or business opportunities that have the potential for strong growth.

Global finalists

AMERICAS: Anu Shah (USA)

University of Leeds

Anu is the founder of EFI Hub, Asia and Africa’s first virtual start-up accelerator, attracting 100,000 investors in just three years, raising $12 million for aspiring entrepreneurs. Anu went on to establish Ushift, a platform for connecting gig workers with employers, and Resume Ranks, which links engineers with employers in the US. In 2019 she began working with the UN on a programme to build gender equality through entrepreneurship and innovation in conflict-affected areas of Africa and Asia.

EAST ASIA: Julianna Yau (China)

University of Cambridge

Julianna is the Founder of Ampla Education, which provides after-school tuition and admissions advice to students applying to boarding schools and universities. Ampla is tackling educational inequality by delivering free services to disadvantaged learners, increasing access to quality education for all. To date it has helped more than 1,800 students to realise their education goals. Julianna has been named Female Entrepreneur of the Year, won an Asia Business Achiever Award.

EUROPE: Konstantina Bethani (Greece)

University of Essex

Konstantina is Founder and CEO of Tenebra Studios, an independent video game and software development company. Her projects include educational video game for refugees, research on AI and machine learning, and virtual reality application to detect early signs of dementia. Konstantina is one of the organisers of Digital Expo, the largest technology event in Greece, and is committed to improving women’s representation in the gaming industry. She describes her experience in the UK as life-changing.

SOUTH ASIA: Dr Janki Rajapurkar Deole (India)

Loughborough University, Staffordshire University and Middlesex University

Janki is the Co-founder of Samiksha Sports Pvt Ltd, a pioneering sports and performance psychology company. She has helped more than 10,000 athletes to improve their performance by building mental resilience, and provided mentoring to 100 psychologists to support the growth of the sector. Janki was India’s first qualified sports psychologist and has since pursued an MSc and PhD in the UK. She cites the unique teaching approaches and experiential learning methods that she encountered in the UK.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Olumide Ogunbanjo (Nigeria)

Coventry University

Olumide is the Co-founder and CEO of AgroData™, which supports small-scale farmers to boost their productivity and income through sustainable farming interventions. AgroData™ has enlisted more than 1,000 farmers, restored 3,134 acres of farmland, and helped to improve the quality of life of 5,335 farmers and rural dwellers in Oke-Ogun, Nigeria. Olumide is a two-time winner of Coventry University’s Bright Idea Award and in 2020 won a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Nigeria60 programme.

WIDER EUROPE: Javid Gara (Azerbaijan)

University of Bristol

Javid is the Founder of Camping Azerbaijan, an ecotourism and sightseeing company. He is passionate about environmental protection, particularly deforestation and habitat loss, and in 2020 stood as an independent, green candidate in Azerbaijan’s parliamentary elections. Javid led a successful initiative to clean more than 10km of shoreline on the outskirts of Baku. Javid believes the emphasis on soft skills in addition to technical knowledge is what sets UK education apart from other countries.