Chivas Regal Selects 27 Finalists for Venture Program

NEW YORK — For the second year in a row, The Venture, Chivas Regal’s global search to discover and reward social entrepreneurs, has announced 27 unique start-ups, who will compete for a share of $1 million in funding. Each business will look to use this creative platform to promote positive social or environmental change.

Chivas Regal is a whisky brand owned by Pernod Ricard with U.S. headquarters in NY.

This year’s innovative global businesses include Disease Diagnostic Group based out of the U.S., as one of the 27 finalists competing for a chance to make their impact on the world. After receiving over 2,500 entries from start-ups across six continents, Disease Diagnostic Group, a startup focusing on screening, tracking, and diagnosing highly infectious or neglected tropical diseases through portable and reusable devices, has been selected to represent the U.S.

“We’re very proud to announce the global finalists of Chivas Regal’s The Venture for the second year, said Richard Black, Chivas Regal Global Brand Director. “This year, applications to The Venture more than doubled, demonstrating the growing trend towards businesses doing well in the world, and reinforcing Chivas Regal’s ongoing commitment to social enterprise. Our founders were entrepreneurs who gave back to their community, and The Venture is continuing their legacy by discovering and supporting businesses that are committed to redefining the role of business in creating a better future.”

Taking place this week, each of the 27 finalists, have travelled to Oxford to participate in an Accelerator Week program created by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the esteemed Oxford University’s Said Business School. In preparation of The Venture Finale taking place this July, finalists will receive leadership coaching and support in preparing for their pitch of a lifetime during an intensive five day program. The week will involve expert trainers and inspirational mentors recruited by the Skoll Centre.

The 27 finalists selected to participate in The Venture, display the necessary creativity and resourcefulness that the startup community was built around. Each business leader showcases the passion and will to create a positive change in the world. In addition to the U.S. startup, other finalists include Onicio Neto, the founder of Epitrack (Brazil), who has created a faster way to identify and track disease outbreaks through a digital detection platform based on crowdsourcing; to Kenny Ewan, the founder of WeFarm (UK) who has developed a seamless peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform for the 500 million small-scale farmers around the world with no internet access.

From May 9th to June 13th, the public will be able to show support for their favorite finalist through a voting system. Over the course of five weeks, their vote will determine how the first $250,000 in funding is split among the finalists. The remaining $750,000 in funding will be awarded at The Venture Finale in July in New York City, after a high stakes pitch in front of The Venture judges.

To learn more about each of The Venture finalists, visit their pages on

The 27 Global Finalists








Felisberto Capamba


Habitec use eucalyptus trees to produce high-quality desks, chairs and other wooden fittings for Angola’s expanding school system. It includes local communities in the replantation of new trees, and 20 percent of its workforce are former soldiers with disabilities, while many of its staff are employed for the first time in their lives.



Natalia Ca


Incluyeme is the first job portal in Latin America that helps people with disabilities find employment. The platform simplifies the way a company engages with the thousands of people with disabilities looking to find a job, ensuring the best talent gets found.


Pollinate Energy

Emma Colenbrander


Pollinate Energy provides urban slum dwellers – currently dependent on kerosene for lighting – with access to affordable clean energy solutions. It does this using ‘Pollinators’; local entrepreneurs who are trained to sell and service solar lights in urban slum communities.



Onicio Leal


Epitrack identifies the risk of an epidemic or disease in a certain area through crowdsourcing platforms where users describe their symptoms. Based on its data, it provides emergency services with the necessary information much faster, decreasing the likelihood of an outbreak.


Bee Smart

Sergey Petrov


Bee Smart Technologies uses sensor technology and bio-based algorithms to analyze and present beekeepers with data about the health and productivity of their bees. It helps beekeepers cut down on operating costs and prevent devastating losses of bees.



Mario Soto


Diagnochip offers fast and low-cost diagnostic devices for developing countries. Using micro-fluidic technology, one of its devices functions as an antibiotic susceptibility test that will accurately analyze urine and blood samples to determine what antibiotics are required to treat urinary tract infections.



Shutong Liu


MotionECO presents a systemic solution to turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel for transportation sectors. Its solution simultaneously tackles the challenges of food safety, waste cooking oil and pollution across the air, road and marine sectors.


Conceptos Plasticos

Oscar Andres Mendez


Conceptos Plasticos transforms plastic waste that is difficult to dispose of, into construction material for permanent housing, temporary shelters and movable structures. It prevents plastic pollution and creates much needed building materials for communities to establish a physical infrastructure.


ECO Mensajeria

Edison Santos

Founder & CEO

ECO Mensajeria is an environmentally friendly courier service, promoting sustainable solutions for the rapid dispatch market, by using zero and ultra-low emission vehicles and a Carbon Balanced service. It tackles two of the main causes of climate change: energy usage and pollution from transportation.



Tarmo Pihl


Sentab is a social network for older adults (65+) which runs on their TV. By turning a regular television set into an interactive device that can be used to make voice and video calls to other enabled televisions, computers or smartphones, families can share and connect with older relatives through our platform.



Julia Römer


Coolar develops refrigerators that are powered by warm water, generated through solar heat. Coolar’s innovative cooling system enables doctors to preserve lifesaving vaccines and medicine in off-grid regions.



Maria Pacheco


Wakami designs and sells handmade fashion accessories produced in 16 rural Guatemalan communities. It incubates businesses that generate income for some of the poorest women in rural Guatemala. Wakami gives business leaders training and tools to improve the nutrition, education and health of their families. 


Taka Solutions

Charles Blaschke


Taka Solutions helps building owners and operators reduce energy and utility costs. It installs custom engineering solutions, equipment, and technology in existing buildings to save energy and money.

Hong Kong


Xania Wong


JOBDOH is a smart hiring platform to help temporary workers find jobs anytime, anywhere. Employers benefit from the speed and ability to hire the right people and workers benefit from the flexibility to earn an income and an improved track record of employment, which is showcased directly in the app.



Or Retzkin


EyeControl is an affordable, intuitive mobile communication device for “locked-in” patients and medical centers. EyeControl translates eye movements into verbal communication, allowing paralyzed patients to communicate with their loved ones.



Ryu Ogawa


MOLCURE aims to cure the incurable by discovering drugs for diseases with no effective treatment. Abtracer, its drug discovery platform, can identify antibody candidates 10 times faster than current systems.


Optic Group ICH

Roberto Alvarado


Optic Group ICH manufactures eyeglass frames from recycled plastic bottles. By using PET from plastic it makes affordable but durable frames. Optic Group ICH’s goal is to enable people all around the world to see more clearly and help the environment by recycling rubbish.


Fresh Direct

Angel Adelaja

Founder & CEO

Fresh Direct is an agricultural production and processing company that brings together communities and advanced technology to provide organic fruits, vegetables and meats and processed end products. Fresh Direct manufacture, install and market customized hydroponic systems, greenhouses and container farms to help smaller farmers be more sustainable and more effective.



Paul Winkel

General Manager

PowerMundo helps improve people’s lives by providing access to clean energy. It offers business training, digital pay as-you-go financing and a suite of solar products to help local business owners and sales agents earn money. It helps off-grid families save money, improve their health – and the environment.



Agnieszka Osytek

Co-Founder & Global Manager

Migam supports communication between the deaf and those that can hear, using video translation via a web browser and mobile app. Thanks to its service, deaf people are able to communicate, meaning they are able to do things that many of us take for granted.



Miguel Neiva


ColorADD has created a universal code made up of simple symbols for primary colors that are then combined to create secondary and tertiary colors, enabling correct color identification for all. It ensures independence, self-esteem and dignity for those who are color blind.



Tudor Cobalas


SafeDrive is the mobile app that rewards drivers for not texting while driving. Drivers earn points that can be converted into discount vouchers or special offers from partner companies. It incentivizes responsible driving, ultimately contributing to safer roads.

South Africa


Jaco Gerrits


CrashDetech is a smartphone application that automatically detects serious car crashes, pinpoints the location, and immediately dispatches the nearest ambulance and supplies paramedics with lifesaving information.



Rafael Espinosa de los Monteros

CEO & Co-Founder

Alzhup is a digital health platform that offers scientifically validated therapy for Alzheimer patients that is fully customizable with the user’s personal memories. It promotes participation between the family and the patient by integrating gamification techniques that increases the quality of life for patients but also for caregivers and family.


Local Alike

Somsak Boonkam

Founder & CEO

Local Alike is an online platform that connects travelers to meaningful and authentic experiences. It works with locals to build their capacity in community-based tourism, preserving local culture and generating sustainable income for communities.



Kenny Ewan

Founder & CEO

WeFarm is a pioneering peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform for the 500 million small-scale farmers around the world with no access to the internet. Farmers can access vital information that can improve their lives via SMS.


Disease Diagnostic


John Lewandowski

Founder & CEO

Disease Diagnostic Group uses refrigerator magnets and laser pointers to detect multiple diseases with just a single drop of blood. It offers a reusable mechanical device that is 50 times faster, a tenth of the cost, stand-alone, and 100 times more likely to detect asymptomatic infections than current diagnostic methods.