A Cypriot start-up created the world’s first biodegradable PCB substrate, and has won the National ClimateLaunchPad competition, in which new companies compete for the best green business idea.
ClimateLaunchPad is being organised in Cyprus for the seventh consecutive year by Chrysalis LEAP. The competition is being sponsored in Cyprus by PwC Cyprus and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) who also participate in the competition by mentoring the teams.
“This competition sits at a sweet spot between addressing a key global issue, climate change and building a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Cyprus” said Evgenios Evgeniou CEO and senior partner of PwC Cyprus.
The startup, Qonductive, will go on to represent Cyprus in the regional finals of this Europe-wide competition. Two other runners-up from Cyprus will go too. They will compete with three teams from each of 14 countries from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Out of those, 16 winning teams will go on to compete in the Global Grand Final, where only ten will win access to the Climate-KIC’s Accelerator a ‘real life business school’ that focuses on the development and commercialisation of cleantech start-ups, as well as access to further funding.
Qonductive has the potential to transform the electronics industry but also benefit the planet, said the judges when they announced the winner in this year’s National ClimateLaunchPad at Royal Hall, Nicosia on Monday.
Engineer Panayiotis Chrysostomou and his business partner Irene Loriga, in charge of the operations of Qonductive, won the first prize for coming up with a way to reduce e-waste by creating RISboard, an eco-friendly PCB that is biodegradable, leaving behind all other elements used, such as valuable metals, intact.
“We were slowed down by Covid-19. We were planning to send our product to a certified laboratory to test it against the standards” Chrysostomou said.
RISboards are scalable and patentable but Chrysostomou declined to reveal the exact raw material they are made of yet. The team is expecting to earn €400,000 in profit per year, and to reduce the CO2 emissions caused by making PCBs by 95 per cent.
The team that earned second place is Wind-e, a portable wind turbine able to transform wind into energy and charge small electronic devices. The bench market for this product are hikers and campers in windy countries such as Norway. It is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 104,800 tons per year compared with other power banks. Wind-e is water-resistant and can be resized to 20cm and fit in any backpack when it is folded.
With a net price of €40, the product is expected to bring €765.333 annual profit if it achieves the 40 per cent of market share target in portable wind turbines and conventional power banks.
The third place of the ClimateLaunchPad competition was won by a local fashion brand under the Greek name Mοτίβω (pronounced Mo-tee-voh). Motivo also collaborated with environmental NGO BirdLife Cyprus to come up with a way to reuse military garments by turning them into fashionable streetwear.
“Cyprus has a heavy military presence, from the national guard to the British and the UN. So many different military garments” said fashion and social designer Giorgos Kirou while pitching the idea to the jury along with fashion designer Eleonora Christodoulou. “There is a story to be told, in a way it’s like standing up to militarisation. And it’s a trend that doesn’t die out,” he added.
The brand will be made using organic cotton and recycled PET threads, while the clothes will be made locally under fair working conditions. The average price for a Motivo garment would be approximately €250.
Motivo aims to create 100 jobs in the dying fashion industry of Cyprus by 2030 and earn €1 million in revenue while holding a 1 per cent share in the local fashion market.
Choosing these winners this year were jury members Vasilios Vrachimis, partner, advisory, in charge of banking at PWC, Myrto Skouroupathi environmental engineer at the Cyprus Energy Agency and Alexandros Charalampbides Assistant professor CUT.