Earlier this year, *ship – The Startup Festival, together with Sitra, arranged an online competition called the Circular Economy Pop-up Challenge for environmentally conscious early-stage startups. Greentropia topped the list as a runner-up and received a waived-off ticket to *ship 2017.

Personal background
Santiago Lobo van Wersch was born and raised in Santiago de Chile. He felt good about nature since a very young age. Trekking in the Andes Mountain Range and trips to the forests of the South helped him build a great connection with nature. He left his home at 19 and backpacked through half of South America and later Australia.

On his 21st birthday, he became a university student at the BTU in Germany, where he will graduate in Environmental Resource Management. “ I have understood why I felt anxious and how to cope with it. So Greentropia is the result of this year’s wandering around. It is my first real entrepreneurial venture, but I feel confident, especially with my team members who are quite experienced with start-ups”, says Santiago, Greentropia’s Project Manager.

Idea to Greentropia
“It is a funny story. It was through an accident I had during my yearlong exchange in Laos. I got hit by a pick-up truck while motorbiking. Luckily I only injured my foot, but I did end up spending the next three weeks in my couch!” The circular economy crossed his research those weeks. Crafting loops with energy, waste, water and food. The theory made sense, so it became the lane to develop Greentropia which is basically circular economy applied to community living. In Santiago’s words,

“The future is green, and you found it. This time is from waste to resources. And not the other way around. This time is Greentropia, a platform that gathers those who understand the new way of thinking and that can combine the wisdom from the past to the technology of today. It is a start-up to build communities from waste, knowledge and friendship. Because the future is green. Because the future is Greentropia.”

Team-work
One fun-fact about the team is that all the members are travellers. They have all lived in at least 3 countries for a year or more. This gives them a more global perspective and probably is the key factor which put them together as friends and now as start-up partners.

Since the beginning, they realized that teamwork is the single most important aspect in measuring the success of Greentropia. “It seemed to be a good idea to concentrate on the skills of each member to assemble the right team. So, I became in-charge of the water systems, with Damian focusing on food self-sufficiency, Gabe into the energy aspect and Francisco as the expert on housing and infrastructure” explained Santiago.

Challenge and expectations
After being selected by the Circular Economy Pop-up Challenge, Greentropia team has been putting the details together over the past weeks. They want to do it differently in Kotka. For them, pitching the idea will be equivalent to handover what they feel about the start-up to the public.

If you look around, the individuals or companies that succeed on reducing their footprint are using this strategy; When they get rid of the unnecessary, they take what they actually need and empower it. That is the key point they want to focus on in order to develop their idea. Understand what is not needed, and focus on the essential, like every efficient start-up would do. The difference is that they also look to empower their project by becoming the only factor of influence, meaning to develop a self-sustaining business plan that do not expose itself to crisis of any type. Self-sufficiency in food, water, housing and electricity by combining wisdom from former communities and technology of today. An ideal circular economy.

The Team Greentropia is looking forward to submerge in the entrepreneurial mindset with other startups to generate a great showground.

“Yes, I look forward to that and the Finnish coast in the summer. I mean, who says we cannot enjoy being entrepreneurs? That’s probably what the organizers of *ship thought when choosing this format of the festival. Business and pleasure can be quite productive. Smart move, isn’t it?” ends Santiago.

Author: Hysein Damati is a student majoring in Mass Communication (Production TV and Film) at University “AAB” in Kosovo. Willing to give up the time to try and do something adventurous, he is excited to start his entrepreneurial journey at *ship 2017.