2017 Austrian National Finals winner Elena Yaneva talked to us about what happened since she discovered ClimateLaunchpad. Here’s what she had to say.
Having an idea is the only requirement
“Ricarda Schmidt from [sic!] Students’ Innovation Centre, the official organizers of ClimateLaunchpad in Austria, handed me this flyer. In big letters it said: ‘Got a green business idea?’ That matched my thoughts, because yes, I had an idea. Most start-up competitions have requirements such as the need for a ready product or proof of concept in order to apply. But this flyer was like no other, having an idea was the only requirement.
That is how I found out about ClimateLaunchpad. Before the competition started, a workshop was organized in Vienna. That day I met likeminded people, who were environmentally conscious and who were discussing dreams – a rare topic for today’s busy schedules. The winner of last year’s competition Vesela Tanaskovic (Afforest4future) gave an inspiring speech. We started sharing and working on our ideas and visions. I met Philipp there. For the first time someone shared enthusiasm and desire to work on the idea, which had been on the top of my mind for over a year and a half.
At this workshop I made the first step with him, and with Lisa and Esther. People I had just met. We filled in a business canvas model. At the end of the day we exchanged contacts and arranged a next meeting to continue our work.
What happened next exceeded my expectations
In less than two weeks we had teamed up, were joined by three more members, called ourselves Hempstatic, met a potential key partner for our start-up and were shooting a video in Neusiedl am See to finalize our application for ClimateLaunchpad Austria. I was amazed by the progress we achieved in such a short amount of time, knowing how long I had already been reading and talking about hempcrete.
We aim to create carbon-negative building solutions
Hempcrete is the source of my inspiration. It is a natural composite building material with excellent properties and an outstanding life cycle and ecological performance in comparison to the widely used construction materials today. Our dream is to create carbon-negative building solutions and make hempcrete the building material of choice.
Where the magic happens: Boot Camp
We got accepted to ClimateLaunchpad. Richard Preißler, the National Lead for Climate Launchpad in Austria, told us that the Boot Camp is the place where the actual magic happens. I can honestly say he was absolutely right.
The two intense days devoted to shape the idea showed the importance of setting a goal and asking the right questions. I had gotten so used to daydreaming about my idea that the business perspective was just in my scope. But when we started adapting the pitch deck to our project I thought this wasn’t the right place for me after all. The answers to the most significant questions were nebulous and ambiguous. First day ended with a feeling of confusion.
But the second day a moment of clarity arose while doing the financials. Quantifying goals was essential for the selection of the best suitable potential customer group and the proper business model. This revealed a new, tangible standpoint for my – up to this moment primarily ideological – dream, which resulted in eliminating uncertainty and making a step forward in reality.
By the end of the Boot Camp our goal was clear and the focus was still the dream. The transition from an imaginative to a real-case scenario required only two days. Thanks to the guidelines, advice and help of our trainer Ron Bloemers.
During the Follow-Up Sessions amazing coaches taught us even more about how to think from a different perspective, recognize important issues, get over difficulties and avoid mistakes.
Looking forward to the Grand Final
The biggest take away for me is: if you don’t know where you are headed, you’ll most probably end up at a place, where you don’t want to be. A direct result of participating in ClimateLaunchpad is that I am working on my dream now and have a clear mind of what I want to achieve and how to reach for it.
I am so looking forward to the upcoming adventure of the Grand Final in Cyprus.”