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Martina Andersson – Pereira Connections

www.connect2colombia.com

Connect to Colombia

 


 

Martina Andersson - Pereira Connections #1

 

Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?

My name is Martina, 26 y/o from Sweden, currently living in Colombia. I got my idea when I just had moved to Colombia, in November 2014. I worked as a translator for a project in hydroelectric where this Colombian company was looking for investors in Europe and the United States. One year I decided that I wanted to do something similar but focus on wind- and solar power.

 

Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.

I've tried many careers; I started with economy, then engineering, over to chinese and now I'm back with economy and almost done with my bachelor in business administration. I speak almost five languages (still working on my Spanish) and I love traveling. After backpacking in Asia I decided to live in China for a while, one of the coolest experiences of my life.

 

What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?

During these three months I will try to find a project and market it through different channels. I already have partners in Colombia doing research on wind- and solar power. Since they think the place most suitable for wind power is too far from the closest power station, we will focus on solar power instead.

 

What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?

I expect that we - me and my partners in Colombia - will find a project that we can start pitching for possible investors in Sweden in the end of August. My job will first of all focus on connecting the projects with investors in Sweden.


 

Martina Andersson - Pereira Connections #2

 

Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.

So far I have been learning a lot about solar energy and how to develop projects. I am right now in the process of starting my own company here in Colombia and will apply for a business visa as soon as I go to Sweden in August. I have found partners both inside and outside of Colombia and it is a very interesting market.

 

Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected? 

The plan has changed since February when I wrote the application for the Leapfrogs scholarship and I have decided to focus only on solar power. Also our team has changed because of some drop-outs and some new talents added. The idea was to find investors and partners, which I knew was going to be a challenge, but so far a lot of people have shown a lot of interest. We do not have a project yet but many opportunities and ideas.

 

What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?

During the remaining time I will keep doing what I am doing now, which means that I am establishing a company with partners in Colombia. We are searching for the perfect place to start developing a project with everything that comes with that. We are still learning a lot about the process, laws and restrictions in Colombia and solar energy off course. As I wrote before we are now only focusing on solar energy which I think is more efficient. 
 


Martina Andersson - Pereira Connections #3

 

How did you experience the three months?

These 3 months have been very fun and educational. I have met a lot of new people and learned about both solar energy, the industry, the market and Colombia. It has not been enough time to sign any contracts, except for NDA:s, but we, my team and I, will continue with this business.

 

What has been hardest/most enjoyable?

The hardest has been to work on a global market with big projects and that everything takes a lot of time. In Colombia there is a totally different custom when it comes to respect a set time or even day for a meeting. Many times we have had to reschedule meetings one or two hours before to the next day or next week.

The most enjoyable has been the results of hard work and response from people. Connect 2 Colombia was just a dream before Leapfrogs.

 

Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?

I want to say both yes and no. Off course I was hoping for progress in these 3 months, but my realistic side kept saying that 3 months wont be enough. This summer has held much more than I could wish for and we will continue this project in the future for sure.

 

What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?

To be transparent. When this idea still only existed in my head i couldn't get any response or help from anyone. Today I always try to analyze what I want to get out of my meetings and then I go in there and say it. Most of the time people really wants to help, and they are interested in hearing your thoughts, that's why it is so important to be transparent and say what you really want. Remember that no one can read your thoughts.

 

Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs? 

I felt that I was limited by myself in the beginning. I kept telling myself that the changes I wanted to do in Colombia were too big and too difficult for a young woman from Sweden. And maybe it is so, but we will never know if we don't try.

 

 

Leapfrogs Working Group
LU Innovation, Sölvegatan 16
Box 117, 221 00 Lund

info [at] leapfrogs [dot] se