Guardian of Social Startups: Zoe Saldana Announced as Judge of Chivas Venture 2019

LONDON and NEW YORK, April 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Zoe Saldana, has been announced as a judge of the Chivas Venture - a global competition that gives away $1 million in no-strings funding every year to the hottest social startups from around the world.

The Avatar and Avengers star will join a panel of expert judges at the Chivas Venture Global Final, hosted at Europe's leading tech festival, TNW Conference, in Amsterdam, on 9th May 2019. From the red carpet to the boardroom, Saldana has significant experience in business and philanthropy, to inspire the Chivas Venture social entrepreneurs and help the panel decide how the prize fund should be split between the five grand finalists.

As the founder of digital media platform BESE, which aims to celebrate diverse cultures and combat their lack of representation in mainstream media, Saldana works to shine a light on underrepresented communities. The actress and activist was also the ambassador for the 'Lend A Hand' campaign, which works to help impoverished women build their own businesses.

Zoe Saldana comments:

"We live in a time where the impossible is merely an undeveloped idea; a time where technology has given us access to multiple platforms allowing us to learn, innovate, create and make an impact on a global scale. That's what these entrepreneurs are doing - they're a true force for social change, blending ambition with generosity to tackle global issues. Their drive and determination will shape generations to come - I cannot wait to be inspired by them."

Saldana will be joined by an array of distinguished judges: Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard - parent company of Scotch whisky business Chivas Brothers - will be on the panel for a fifth consecutive year. Alongside Alexandre will be Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please and global winner of the Chivas Venture 2018; and Sonal Shah, economist and founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University. The Chivas Venture Global Final will be hosted by BAFTA winning actor, writer, director and television presenter, Richard Ayoade, who will be taking to the TNW Conference stage to present this year's final five.

Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard, commented:

"We have a fantastic group of global finalists in this year's competition who are all blending profit with purpose to positively impact our world. Every year I look forward to seeing these entrepreneurs in action and finding out more about their businesses and the global problems they are tackling. As a CEO as well as an individual, I always learn a lot from them. It's always a tough job to be a judge at the Chivas Venture - luckily I have a great panel, with a blend of skills and experience, to help with selecting this year's winners."

In just two weeks' time, the 20 global finalists will go head-to-head in a series of quarter and semi-final rounds for a chance to pitch on the main stage and receive a share of the $1m fund at the Chivas Venture Global Final. The 20 entrepreneurs will be whittled down to just five grand finalists, who will each have three minutes to impress the acclaimed panel of judges and an audience of global business leaders, tech professionals, investors and entrepreneurs.

Until 30(th) April 2019, the public can show their support for their favourite finalist by voting online via the Chivas Venture website. These public votes will determine how the first $100,000 in funding is split between the finalists.

Through the Chivas Venture, Chivas aims to show that blended is better, in life, business and Scotch - a belief instilled by founding brothers James and John who shared their success with the local community as their business grow. To date, Chivas has given away $4m to social businesses around the world, impacting millions of lives.

To learn more about the Chivas Venture global finalists and vote for your favourite, visit

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SOURCE The Chivas Venture