Maximilian Cierpisz - Salt Water Farming
Maximilian Cierpisz - Salt Water Farming #1
Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?
I’m a well-travelled and currently chemistry studying student. My idea for my project came from my travels in the Southern parts of Europe, and northern parts of Africa when I studied abroad. Seeing the problem with plastic waste up-close, that combined with lack of access to drinkable water made me think. What if there is one solution to both of these problems. That’s how my idea came to me. Using plastic waste to build a sun powered device that uses water evaporation to turn saltwater into freshwater.
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
I studied Biotech at LTH, then took a longer break and continued my studies abroad. My work experience is mostly from working as a workflow manager at an Ice cream factory and as a salesman for a Swedish IT company.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
I’m going to be doing lots of networking and market research to better understand what needs to be done to successfully launch my idea. That includes setting up a website, meetings with people from the manufacturing business, academia and government organisations. It’s important so I get a get a better understanding of how to successfully receive funds/grants, both on national level but also on European level that are needed for my business idea.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
My goal for this three month period is to produce a PO, Project Outline, and thereafter a Full PO and apply for EU funds for my idea. There are two EU organizations/projects right now that are a very good fit for my idea, Horizon 2020 and Eurogia 2020. I also hope to build a lasting network that I can use for help in the future.
Maximilian Cierpisz - Salt Water Farming #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
Finished a full-scale design (in Cad/Cam) of the device complete with renders and metric data. That means it’s fully ready for production. Also filed all the paperwork needed for running the company (as a NGO) including tax forms etc. I also setup a special bank account for the company. I’ve also added another member to my team who’s in charge of marketing. That mean in charge of the website/social media and booking meetings. Finally, I’ve produced a full project outline and have used it to seek funding from four different funds, three in Sweden and one at EU level.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
Paperwork from government agency’s (tax office (skatteverket) and Bolagsverket) took way longer than expected and stalled the project a bit because no one wanted to signed any kind of deal with us as long as we didn’t have a ORG nr (organisation number). Another bottleneck was that it’s vacation time so lots of people that are in charge were away, thus limiting our progress. What went much easier than expected was setting a production space, where we can build and test our device.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way? (Minimum 65 words/Maximum 90 words)
Lots of meetings are set-up for the next three weeks, in which we will meet with both government agencies but also private investors looking to fund our project. If I could go back in time I would spend less time on doing the technical aspect of the project (simulations/mechanical design) and more on presentation and paperwork. Seems that people care much more in the presentation part of the project then the technical aspect. That was a error on my part
Maximilian Cierpisz - Salt Water Farming #3
How did you experience the three months?
Lots of very tall highs but also some very big disappointments on the way. I’ve learned that you can’t overwork yourself because that really kills the creative spark inside. So less working on weekends and try to maintain a social life are very important. I’ve had some really great debates with people I’ve meet during the LF period, which have helped me to streamline and improve my project a lot. So listen to what people are saying
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
The paperwork was very hard to deal with [banking etc], but also the treatment from certain companies that sounded very dismissive at the beginning. The best part was when we started to received funding for our project and the general excitement people had when we presented our idea.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
Much harder than I expected because of the share amount of paperwork that’s needed to even think of receiving funding. But now we are applying to four major sources for funding so hopefully we will have some positives answers soon. I’ll study some water management on the side but the project will continue to be my main employment.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
To listen to suggestions and organise my time better. Just because you can work weekends or have 12-hour shifts don’t make the project move forward any faster. Buy proper Calendar!
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
Get all the paperwork out of the way as soon as possible. All paperwork involving the tax office and banks needs to be done ahead of anything else.