The Journey, the world’s largest climate innovation summer school organised by EIT Climate-KIC, began this weekend in Bologna.
From June to September, some 440 students are taking part in an intensive innovation and entrepreneurship programme hosted by top universities across 23 European cities.
The summer programme gives students the inspiration and skills to take bold steps in the fight against climate change through innovative entrepreneurship.
With some big achievements emerging from program students in the past, we asked five alumni: how did the Journey support you in achieving your successes to date?
“The Journey opened my eyes for a career in (sustainable) entrepreneurship. It inspired me to go for an internship in a start-up in Amsterdam, devoted to make the historic canal buildings more sustainable.
“The Journey moreover provided me with an interesting network of inspiring young professionals. Via this network I found my graduation internship at KPMG Sustainability.
“Combining the experiences I obtained in these two internships, I found the best of both worlds within my current job at RebelGroup: a platform where entrepreneurs come together: we advise, implement and invest in various different fields, such as mobility or the circular economy.”
Eline Leising, Co-Founder, CaffeeInk, an idea born during the Journey that extracts pigments from coffee waste and uses them to produce sustainable ink.
“Oorja was conceptualized during the Journey, by combining Clementine’s expertise in transforming agricultural waste into energy with my 12+ years of experience in business strategy, consulting and international development.
“We received training for business model development, financial modelling, writing business plans and pitching, all of which came in extremely handy. We estimate we’ve delivered over 100 pitches so far, and counting.”
Amit Saraogi & Clementine Chabon, Oorja, which aims to provide clean energy access to off-grid communities in rural India.
“The Journey introduced me to multiple new skills, including how to build a business plan using the business model canvas, tips on how to pitch as a team, how to effectively brainstorm using design thinking principles, how to do climate impact analyses.
“These are all skills that I have used, since the Journey, to be successful in my master program and volunteer projects, and will continue to build on in my career. The most important Journey takeaway I try to follow, is to strive for ‘audacious’ ideas, in order to really make a big, meaningful impact.”
Rabia Abrar, a Masters student in Urban Management and Development at Erasmus University Rotterdam, is specialising in Urban Sustainability and Climate Change, and is writing a thesis on how cross-sectoral governance in cities can drive reduced meat consumption.
“The Journey and the following start-up project taught me almost all I know about setting up a business plan, ideating and the importance of networking.
“We created a spin-off from a finding that I had made in the beginning of my PhD – increasing the efficiency of refrigerated display cabinets in supermarkets. Now that project has successfully launched and we have refurbished thousands of cabinets around Germany this year and hope to scale during 2018.
“Within my PhD I have developed tools for lowering the climate impact of supermarkets and I’m confident that with the network and entrepreneurial skills that EIT Climate-KIC has provided me there will be another success story to tell soon.”
Tommie Månsson, founded Sensorhold, a spin-off from his PhD that repositioned temperature sensors in refrigerated display cabinets, leading to a significant effect in energy demand.
“The business plan I worked on during the Journey provided the base for structuring the details of my PhD mobility stay.
“Since multiple assumptions were made for the business plan, I decided to dig deeper and investigate these assumptions further.
“The Journey provided a platform to delve into a long-term interest of mine which has evolved into my dream career path, where I am able to combine my educational background with my passion for food.”
Marin Lysak is in the in the last year of her PhD project on improving food and nutrition security while exploring market potentials for revitalizing underutilized crop species as a strategy for climate change adaptation.