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Molecular Biology graduate wins at Great British Entrepreneur Awards

5 December 2022

Newcastle graduate Lottie Hawkins was awarded ‘Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year (South West)’ at the tenth annual Great British Entrepreneur Awards in November.

Lottie received the accolade in recognition of her start-up Earthly Biochar, which was founded with Bournemouth University alumnus Connor Lascelles in 2018. The business is committed to combating climate change by offering domestic gardeners and land managers an alternative to using harmful chemical products in their soil.

After graduating from Newcastle University in 2016 with a degree in Cell & Molecular Biology, Lottie focused her attention on developing a novel soil product that would make the waste wood industry more efficient.

The finished product – Biochar - is made from waste wood that has been carbonised under high temperatures in the presence of little to no oxygen. It can be used as horticultural charcoal or charcoal for gardening to improve soil fertility and plant health. In addition, biochar sequesters carbon and reduces the amount of water needed, ensuring the process is carbon negative and beneficial to the environment.  

It is for this achievement that Lottie was named Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year for the South West Region at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in London. From 5,000 applications, Lottie was one of just 98 entrepreneurs who won on the night, which saw 1,400 entrepreneurs come together to celebrate a collective £2 billion generated in turnover and over 17,000 jobs.


Lottie and co-founder Connor were supported in their journey by Newcastle University’s START UP team in 2019 and 2020, receiving valuable advice from our Business Advisers and a £1,000 grant to support prototyping.  

Alumni can access the University’s award-winning Careers Service for three years after their graduation.