Sarawakian Wee ‘WormingUp’ to become a global innovator

Jeff Wee

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KUCHING, Nov 15: Sarawakian innovator Jeff Wee defeated two contestants from the United Kingdom and Brazil to win the top award under the Retail Supply Chain category in this year’s ‘Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards’.

Wee is the founder of WormingUp, an agricultural consultancy specialising in the farming of insects for effective organic waste management.

The Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards is a global competition, which highlights and reward entrepreneurs that demonstrate excellence in innovation.

In its third edition this year, it took place in the city and attracted contestants from around the globe, including Nigeria, France and Indonesia.

“I was truly shocked when I was announced as the winner of this category as it was unexpected. But I am proud to receive this award as it’s a testament of what WormingUp has achieved thus far.

“It’s good to know that people believe in my vision. I am truly happy that my team and my work has received recognition globally and this has proved that what I am doing is definitely worth the cause,” expressed Wee.

He added that the prize and support received from this competition would enable his team to secure their first ever organic waste upcycling centre in Kuching, enabling them to continue playing a part in working with communities to reduce, recycle and repurpose waste in a much larger scale.

Another Sarawakian who contested in this year’s competition was Haaziq Ibrahim of Ai Brique Engineering Consultancy. He emerged runner-up in the Social Enterprises category. Ai Brique comprises consultants in green technological solutions to improve business operations and energy efficiency.

Haaziq (third from left) receiving his prize from the judges.

There are three categories under the innovative awards, namely Energy Solutions, Retail Supply Chain and Social Enterprises.

Josh Burton of Metronome Energy from the United Kingdom won the Energy Solutions category, while Nina Nuraniyah of Greenna from Indonesia was awarded winner of the Social Enterprises category.

The participants were judged by an international panel of business leaders chaired by Joerg Wienke, Shell Global Retail Marketing vice-president.

“It’s been incredibly inspiring to see passionate entrepreneurs from around the world share innovative business ideas designed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.

“Achieving a truly sustainable retail business will only be possible by doing things differently.

“We want to partner with creative thinkers like those in this year’s Top Ten Innovators so that we can leverage their innovative mindset to improve the sustainability of our business while supporting them to turn their enterprising ideas into viable and long-term businesses,” Wienke said.

The winner of each category received US$20,000, and the two runners-up from each category received a prize of US$10,000 each.

All nine winners received an award package, including mentoring support by Shell expert, the opportunity to benefit from market linkages and the possibility to be considered as a vendor to Shell’s Retail business.

Top Ten Innovators is a worldwide competition open to the alumni of the Shell LiveWIRE programme. Its objective is to reward exceptional examples of innovation within businesses supported by the programme and to create a cohort of role models to inspire young entrepreneurs across the globe.

In Malaysia, this programme is held annually in Sabah and Sarawak. — DayakDaily