Alexis Bernadechi - GreenWhale
Blog post #1
Describe the idea!
We have developed a material made out of biproducts from potatoes and starch cultivation that is biodegradable. Our vision is to replace single use disposable articles made of plastic and paper. The purpose of our products is to reduce forest debris, landfills and create a more sustainable future for animals, nature and society.
Who are you?
Our team consists of three members. One mechanical engineer, one material engineer and then me, mechanical engineer student.
My previous work experience consists of an internship in Colombia and a part time job at Sony.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
I will work with the thermal tests and work on the production aspect for most.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
By the end of the summer I hope that we have all the test approved, the production aspect is solved and the budget for the project gets established in a more detail matter.
Blog post #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
So for we have managed to get all the lab tests approved, started to work on a website, had meetings with different production consultants to discuss suitable production methods and been working on a budget for the investment.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
Well we´ve had problems with some of our thermal lab test which didn’t withstand the desired heat. This set us back a couple weeks in our planning and has resulted in a lot of stress. Another obstacle has been to continue financing this project. But we have now received some funding from some family and friends, so we are good to go!
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
We will continue to work on a budget plan, look at the required logistic for the operation, look more into how to start a company etc. I may have been little too optimistic regarding being able start talking to future clients.
Blog post #3
How did you experience the three months?
Very fun and exciting but at the same time challangeing. Sometimes it was stressful with the long hours and setbacks but you when you do something you think its fun you don’t feel like your working. I'm grateful for getting the Leapfrogs opportunity because it allowed me to put 200 % into this project without feeling the stress of getting another job to be able to support myself.
What has been most difficult and what has been most enjoyable?
The most difficult aspect to conquer was the fact that I felt uncomfortable being so persistent and resolute in getting my projects across to the right people. I’ve had to overcome the fear of being perceived as incessant, and instead put my confidence in the project, which has led to being more tenacious in the follow-through of the venture.
The most enjoyable part has definitely been being able to decide my own schedule, doing things in my own pace, whether that is completing 3 days work in 1, or taking a few hours to analyse and regroup. Furthermore, the sense of realizing a project that has largely only existed in abstract thoughts is incredibly fulfilling, not to mention the feeling of being able to contribute to my community in a positive and sustainable way.
Will you continue working on your project in the future? If so, what is your next step?
I plan on continuing my work on this project, firstly through drawing up a cost sheet in order to get an overview of the financial situation. The next step would be to develop packaging that appeals to our demographic, finding customers, and utilizing the appropriate marketing strategy, basically the logistics before launching the project.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
The most important lesson I’ve learned while working on my project is by far learning to regroup and not being afraid of getting a rejection. I have learned that trying varying approaches will more often than not give you varying results, which in turn will yield a positive outcome. Being persistent and determined will get you the results you want, just keep at it.
Do you have any tips to other new entrepreneurs?
The best tips I have for other entrepreneurs is be consistent, determined and efficient. Do the work every single day and you will see the results you have been working for. Don’t take no for an answer and don’t let one rejection knock the wind out of you, instead be flexible and try to work around the perceived problem, there is always a solution waiting for you to discover it. Lastly, being efficient to me means not waiting. There’s no need to wait for a reply to start the second phase of your project,, instead of waiting to hear from say a baker about some bread, you can start researching the packaging you want for the bread, or reach out to a store to see if there’s a demand for the specific type of bread you’re selling. All in all, be prepared to put in the work and you will harvest the fruits of your labour.