Archives for August 2018

24th August 2018 - No Comments!

SEEDING IMPACT – From EIT Alumni CONNECT ’17 to Addis Ababa

At the EIT Alumni CONNECT event in Budapest last year, EIT InnoEnergy alumna Laura Perez turned a vague idea (that she and fellow student Marc Navarro Sotés came up with) into a viable business concept that is well on its way to success.

Laura recently spoke to EIT InnoEnergy and shared how the initiative was created and offered some inspirational words for other students who are coming up with their own ideas for future start-ups.

SEEDING IMPACT is born

Laura explains, “Marc and I met for a coffee in Stockholm and found out that we both wanted to do things, to be really hands on. This was the start of Seeding Impact. I took our idea of providing students and young professionals with the opportunity to join International development projects to the EIT Alumni CONNECT event and won the pitching competition. It was so empowering to have our idea validated – and the prize money has enabled us to get started!”

Laura Perez and Oscar, a student selected by Seeding Impact to work with the startup Tartarri in Ethiopia

Seeding Impact allows a company to bring a project to the table (perhaps a problem they have not been able to solve in-house), then a team of students or young professionals is selected to work on that project. The company and team can now create the perfect solution by working together.

“We wanted to encompass all the important EIT ideals, but also to include other sectors of industry, such as health – because I think lasting impact is created in many different fields!” With their winning idea and some seed money, they started to build an amazing team of like-minded individuals. “Our work is important, and it’s clear since this start-up is growing out of volunteer’s time with only passion to drive us. We all want to make a difference and have been working non-stop since.”

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

We all know the enormous amount of hard work it takes to get a start-up off the ground. Laura acknowledges the road hasn’t been easy, with many challenges – but luckily, they’ve received support along the way. “The entrepreneurship knowledge I’ve gotten from the InnoEnergy programme was key. Not only academically, but also to get insights into how to shape a business. I’ve also received a lot of support from the InnoEnergy team at the EIT InnoEnergy Scandinavian office to help me fulfill this dream.”

Seeding Impact has already had some success, such as conducting their first event in Stockholm with another entity “Make a Difference” (MAD) targeting a sanitation problem in Uganda, where they successfully matched up a team to work on the project. Another is Ice Addis, a start-up incubator in Ethiopia, matched with Entrepreneurs Without Borders (EWB) to work with local start-ups, empowering local Ethiopian projects (Laura is on location in Ethiopia as we write this article). And just recently, they initiated a collaboration with (B)-Energy to deal with biogas digesters for developing countries. “A lot more projects are coming soon” Laura shares confidently, “we want to expand slowly. Each one must be analysed carefully… but I know we can make this work!”

Views from the office at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE

When asked if she had any advice for future entrepreneurs, those perhaps just starting to play with an exciting idea they have for a start-up, Laura was happy to oblige. “It might sound like a typical reply, but being right in the middle of this process I can tell you… enjoy what you do! Stop thinking about the future, worrying about whether you will fail or not. If you fail, that’s okay. The path you take, the experience you gain, it is definitely worth it. There is always something to be learned along the way. The best thing you can do is to follow your ideas where they lead you, take chances and surround yourself with supportive people.”

Excellent advice from a truly passionate entrepreneur.

14th August 2018 - No Comments!

EIT Alumni goes to Sziget Festival

On Thursday the 9th of August, the EIT Alumni joined EIT Climate-KIC Alumni at their recycling station at Sziget festival in Budapest!

This year the EIT Climate-KIC Alumni are making a name for themselves once again at Sziget. Stationed at one of the three recycling centres on the island, industrious alumni have been engaging festival goers, both the spritely and the weary, to promote recycling, environmentally sustainable living, and the values of the EIT Community.

One of they key messages of Sziget is environmental consciousness and sustainable development. This year they have made an extra effort to fulfill these goals by promoting a Love Revolution on the island, their way of celebrating that, together, we can achieve sustainable development and environmental awareness in our daily lives.
Of course EIT Climate-KIC Alumni chose to support them on this valiant mission!

We joined them on Thursday to see how they were getting on.

When we arrived at 11am sharp, the island was sleepy but the recycling centre was already in full swing. The ingenious idea of offering gifts and WiFi for plastic bottles and trash was luring passers by into the tent, while also cleaning up the island. Once inside, they were given the opportunity to participate in the EIT Climate-KIC quiz, with the chance to win some sustainable goodies.

This continued for much of the morning, as the sound systems from the main stage rumbled into action and provided a musical accompaniment to our recycling rhythm.

At 2pm we started setting up the area for the first EIT Climate-KIC Alumni workshop of the week - 'Creating your own mini sun collector'. Despite the baking sun (good for solar panels, not so good for festival-goers), over 35 people joined us to listen to Viola's captivating presentation on solar panels and learned how easy it is to make one for yourself.

Viola followed up her speech with an interactive workshop, where participants were taught how to butcher a traditional phone charger and transform it into you very own solar paneled contraption. Ideal for a festival such as Sziget!

For the rest of the afternoon the team fell back into the usual recycling routine. The make-your-own recycled clothing stand proved to be particularly popular, as passers by were inspired by Santhur's home-made, eco-friendly, multifaceted fanny pack.

At the end of a long day a local Hungarian blogger and video crew came by to interview Dorka Bauer, Communications Manager on the CKAA Board for 2018, and seasoned Sziget supporter. We look forward to hearing the interview when it is published!

After just one day of flying the flag of sustainability for the almost 500,000 Sziget visitors, we returned to Budapest, tired yet inspired!

Best of luck to the fearless eco-warriors of the CKAA who continue their crusade for the entirety of the festival, holding another workshop every afternoon at 2pm. For those of you at the festival, why not pop in and meet the team?

Don't forget: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle!

 

13th August 2018 - No Comments!

EIT Alumni @ The Innovation Retreat

On the 19th of July, 9 members of the EIT Alumni Community were invited to attend a 2-day Innovation Retreat at the idyllic Tataj Studios in Barcelona.

The retreat, a prize offered by Tataj Innovation to the winning ideas of the EIT Alumni Startup Days - Barcelona, was designed to further develop those ideas created during our event, and connect them with key local stakeholders who have the capabilities and connections to make their ideas a reality.


During the Barcelona startup Days participants where tasked to come up with feasible projects to re-reinvent Badalona, an industrial mid-size city in Spain. Once upon a time, this area was called the ‘Catalan Manchester’. Now it is an extension of the urban transformation known as 22@ Innovation District Barcelona.

On the first day of the retreat, the participants were invited to work on their projects, practice their pitching, create campaigns for their projects, work on video designs, and make use of the team of experts assembled to assist them on their journey.

On the second day the Mayor and deputy Mayor of Badalona were invited to the studio to listen to the pitches of the teams and to discuss how these ideas could be implemented.


It was an inspirational couple of days, and a valuable opportunity to see the impact our community can have in Europe. It's great to see the potential of our community being harnessed in an area such as Badalona.

Hopefully the teams continue to work closely with Tataj Studios and we can see some of the ideas implemented in the Badalona area in the near future!

There were five innovative projects that were invited to the retreat. These consisted of:

1. The Bridge to China

Re-imagine the Port of Badalona and transform the area into a bridge connecting
Europe and China, boost the local economy and revitalize the land. Merge Chinese and Catalan cultures connected by such values as the entrepreneurial spirit and respect for family and tradition.

2. BADALONA 4.0

Develop Moll Capitana in the Badalona Port as the Artificial Intelligence Living Lab: a centralized hub for experiencing AI technologies and a multifunctional space for training and networking. Use the renowned ENDESA power plant with its three chimneys as the global signature building for AI future.

3. eNEUTRAL 

Build an entirely energy neutral district, which combines public, commercial and residential land use. Develop a blueprint for new living schemes, a zero carbon footprint housing, green houses and urban farms, all connected by sustainable mobility solutions.

4. PICO BLAU

Deploy Italian technology to create an artificial reef for surfers at Badalona the city with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. Build on Club Natacio Badalona renowned transitions to develop new sport disciplines and promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

5. OPEN SOCIAL LAB

Turn the beloved power plant into a hotspot for social activity and innovation with a 3D Print Hub and a Makers’ Space for global entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, designers and visionaries.

Many thanks to Daria Tataj and the team at Tataj Innovation for joining us in Barcelona for the Startup Days and for organising this fabulous retreat.
We look forward to continued collaboration!