Zinc Environment Launch: Transforming the industries that have the most impact on our environmental crisis.

Join us on Thursday, 30 June for an evening of music, inspiring talks, and networking.

  • When? Thursday, June 30th, 6:30-9:30pm
  • Where? Zinc HQ, 24 Eversholt Street, Euston, London

Zinc is a unique impact fund. Our next Venture builder is focused on the environment. The evening will bring together people across industry, academics, and enterprise to discuss how to solve complex and pressing global challenges through new innovation, products, and services.

We know that partnership is key to global success and we are delighted to celebrate this evening of positivity and optimism by partnering with the Warrior Women Network as they launch their 2nd podcast series and delve deeper into the environment. Each episode will shine light on a ‘warrior’ leading change in one of our key focus areas: Food, Fishing & farming; Transport; Construction & building operations; Manufacturing & supply chains.


About the evening

Join us for light refreshments at Zinc HQ in Euston, London from 6.30pm.


5.30-6.30pm; Keiran Whitaker, Founder of Entocycle, the UK's leading insect farming company  will be joining the Meet & Greet for prospective candidates for Zinc’s fifth Venture Builder, join the evening’s events early if you’d like to learn more about the Zinc Venture Builder! Register for this separate event here.

6.30pm: Arrival and light refreshments, music by Dr Michelle Ulor

7.00pm: Welcome from Karla Morales-Lee, host of Warrior Women podcast

7.10pm:  Paul Kirby, Cofounder of Zinc will introduce Zinc's environment mission

7:25: Fireside Chat with Kene Umeasiegbu, Campaign’s Director of Tesco

7:55: Panel discussion with Professor Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira, University of Strathclyde, Murvah Iqbal, HIVED Founder and Kresse Wesling, Co-Founder, Elvis & Kresse and Co-Farmer, New Barns Farm

8.25: Q&A

9.00: Networking, music by Dr Michelle Ulor

9.30: End


Speakers & Music

Fireside chat with Kené Umeasiegbu:


Kené Umeasiegbu is a Campaigns Director at Tesco, where he leads the company's public and stakeholder engagement on societal issues including climate, food waste, plastics, and plant-based proteins. Prior to this, he was Tesco’s Head of Environment for six years, and led Tesco to switch to 100% renewable electricity, roll out the UK's largest retail network of electric vehicles charging points, launch sustainability innovations and Tesco’s roadmaps to zero deforestation soy and sustainable tuna. Kené’s 22-year career in sustainability spans not-for-profit, consulting, and corporate jobs. He worked in a variety of roles in Brazil, Estonia, Nigeria, and The Netherlands, for a youth leadership organisation, AIESEC. He joined UK consumer goods company Cadbury in 2003, working in a variety of sustainability roles. Kené later worked as a sustainability consultant at the Carbon Trust and Carnstone Consulting, before joining Tesco as Head of Environment in 2013. Kené is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – a UK social change charity, working to solve poverty in the UK. He also serves as an environmental adviser to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. He volunteers as a mentor for young talent from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kené holds a BSc in geology from the University of Nigeria and an MSc in corporate responsibility from the University of Bath, UK.



Professor Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira has over 20 years internationally leading design innovation and research experience in the sustainability, energy, and design sectors as a climate action thought leader and design research expert having led delivery of complex multidisciplinary projects ranging in value from £200k-£29mil in the UK and internationally. She founded the Radical Architecture Practice for Sustainability network in partnership with leading design practitioners and researchers in Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria and France. She is a Thought Leadership Specialist Advisor to the Design Council and a board member of the World Green Building Council (Serbia), as well as scientific and industry advisory member of numerous scientific committees including the newly launched New European Bauhaus Collective. Currently, Sonja is leading delivery of multiple research and innovation projects (value in excess of £1.2mil) aiming to transform interrelated energy governance systems to account for complex multi-phenomenon and multi-scale interconnected encounters between humans, nonhumans, spatial, socio-technological, and environmental dimensions of everyday life. Her recent work carried out for accelerating design capability and capacity for net-zero modular housing delivery was selected for the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee’s report, Off-site manufacture for construction: Building for Change.

Screenshot 2022-06-23 at 09.08.04

Murvah Iqbal is the co-founder and CEO of HIVED. Passionate about sustainability, Murvah founded HIVED to reinvent the delivery industry and build a mass-market, zero-emission network. With innovative technology and powerful data analysis, HIVED is now helping companies massively reduce their carbon footprint without compromising affordability or convenience.

Backed by some of Europe leading investors and VCs in climate-tech, logistics and mobility and the UK government, HIVED is growing rapidly. Currently based and delivering within London, the company plans to expand into new geographies.


Kresse Wesling MBE is a Canadian-born, Kent-based, multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur and Young Global Leader with a background in venture capital and significant start-up experience.

Kresse and her partner James Henrit (Elvis) had a chance encounter with the London Fire Brigade where they learned that all of London’s damaged and decommissioned fire hoses were destined for landfill.

Seeing the potential in the pillar box red heavy-duty material that the hoses were made from, the duo cut a deal with London Fire Brigade and set up Elvis & Kresse and started turning London’s fire hoses into luxury handbags.



DJ Dr Michelle Ulor is a Research & Development Fellow at Zinc, working closely with Founders on Zinc’s current mental health mission and serves as the deputy lead for the Catalyst programme - a partnership between Zinc and UKRI that funds entrepreneurial academics who want to translate their research into impactful and scalable products, services and interventions. She completed a PhD in Music Psychology at the University of leeds, developing a novel musical imagery intervention for anxiety. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

Aside from research-related activities, Michelle is a DJ hosting a monthly club-focused show on NTS Radio and is a freelance music journalist, writing for Truants, Resident Advisor, Crack Magazine, Electronic Beats, and Insert.

About the podcast

The Warrior Women podcast interviews women who are doing pioneering work to redesign old systems that no longer work for people and planet. Series 1 guests included Paula Harriott, head of prisoner involvement at the Prison Reform Trust, Dr Charlotte Web, co-founder of Feminist Internet and Yvonne Lawson MBE, co-founder of the Godwin Lawson Foundation. Listen to series 1 here

This is a genuine opportunity for intersectional women to find support to develop a successfully funded impact-driven business.

Help us spread the word about the programme - or apply yourself!

About the Zinc Venture Builder

Starting in October 2022, the Zinc Venture Builder will bring together 70 talented, diverse, and driven individuals to transform the industries with the most impact on our environmental crisis. There is overwhelming evidence that critical action is needed in order to ensure a better future for our planet. The time to act is now. We are currently searching for exceptional people who will form our next cohort. If you know an ideal candidate why not refer them here.