Green Phenix win's Public Choice award
Present Your Startup is an accelerator program that connects startups, businesses and investors. The program started in Haarlem, but is also active in New York and Curacao. This year it is the second time Present Your Startup is held in Curacao and it is a regional program. The Caribbean program started with 40 participants from different islands. During the Semi-Finals in May the 5 best contestants were chosen. These participants entered a 100 day training program to make them investor ready. In the finals they get 3 minutes to pitch their ideas and to get the interest of potential partners and investors.
In May Sabine Berendse pitched for Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao (STCC). STCC aims to protect sea turtles and their habitat, through research, conservation and education. Active since 2014, STCC has shown to be a highly effective organization. Saving thousands of turtles, reaching over 175K+ people and cleaning 80K+ gallon of marine debris from beaches. The organization build quite some support in the community. This might have contributed to winning the public’s choice award in the semi-finals. Sabine Berendse also won a place in the 100 day training program and the Caribbean finals.
To get some extra practice Sabine joined Present Your Startup New York for the Haarlem2Harlem pitch competition in June. With a clearer vision of the ambitions to make a positive impact not only on Curacao, but in the Caribbean region and internationally, she convinced the jury with the unique approach and won the Present Your Startup New York. In doing so she ensured a spot in the overall finals of Present Your Startup in the Netherlands in November 2018.
The victory in New York led to quite some publicity and also to some reel useful feedback. STCC is an NGO and due to the non-profit character and the legal status, this entity is not interesting for investors. So even though the majority of the public agrees that STCC is doing an amazing job, real financial support is rare. But it is essential that the business community and investors get involved, because to make real impact you need to scale. And that is how the idea of ‘Green Phenix’ was born.
STCC had a successful partnership with Limpi already. STCC delivered sorted beach plastic, which limpi transformed into sea turtle souvenirs. STCC sells these souvenirs and the proceeds help sustain the NGO and also create awareness about plastic pollution. Debrah Nijdam en Mitchell Lammering, the people behind Limpi, are very creative and talented product designers, with a strong desire to create a better world. Like Sabine, they also have bigger ambitions then what they are currently doing. It was decided to intensify the partnership to create a bigger impact, and to start up Green Phenix together
So far the STCC/Limpi partnership was using plastic that is cleaned from the beaches, which has been exposed to radiation and a salty environment. This is the most difficult kind to use. It is also just fighting the symptoms. That is why Green Phenix will shift to using waste plastic. In this Green Force is a great partner, because this organization collects 35.000 KG of separated recyclables each month. These recyclables are currently exported of Curacao. The export is not always easy and it also is costly. Green Phenix aims to use locally collected PET and HDPE as raw materials for new products.
Limpi already has an interesting collection of bowls, coasters, keychains and lamps. With new machines and by outsourcing part of the production to organizations like 2ndLifeCuracao, Green Phenix will be able to produce a more diverse product line in a more effective manner. Creating beautifully designed and practical products, made from recycled plastic.
By transforming plastic waste into new product, plastic pollution is prevented. So Green Phenix is addressing the core of the problem of plastic pollution. In the Caribbean finals Sabine Berendse used her 3 minutes to explain the journey from STCC to Green Phenix. She was wearing a dress made from recycled PET, from label dresscode010, to emphasize the endless possibilities of recycled plastic. To create a better future we need to go towards a circular economy fast. Green Phenix offers sustainable alternatives in the right direction. The audience agreed and Green Phenix won the public’s choice award and 5000 ANG.
Several parties have expressed an interest to invest in Green Phenix. In September Debrah, Mitchel and Sabine will visit the “Kunstsoffenbeurs” in the Netherlands and meet with potential partners and investors. All the options will be carefully examined and in Oktober we will most likely have some exciting news about the future of Green Phenix….