Who are you?
Prior to participating in the Pioneers into Practice programme, Javier Moliner had studied environmental sciences and started his Masters in Entrepreneurship. Following his time working at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and travelling around Latin America, he became involved in Climate-KIC activities. His objective for participating in the Pioneers programme was specifically to gain practical experience of working within a company, with the intention of setting up a start-up himself.
What did you do?
Javier’s placement was with RePack in Helsinki, which is a reusable packaging service for e-commerce. During his time with the company, Javier worked on practical projects, applying his skills and knowledge to explore and test new market opportunities within southern Europe. He felt that to become an entrepreneur, you need to get your hands dirty and learn by doing.
For Javier, the highlights of the Pioneers experience were the networking opportunities the Pioneers programme provided, and the real experience gained from his placement.
The Pioneers programme was the starting point of my company. There are many open windows available but it´s up to you to decide to go through them.
What did you achieve?
Following his placement, Javier applied the knowledge and experience from the workshops and his placement to establish his own new start-up, Howlanders.com, which offers nature-related tourism activities operating in Latin America. The enterprise offers selected tours that promote sustainable, local tourism that have a positive impact on the local community. This is done by working with local communities and small tour providers directly, paying fair prices which avoids using intermediaries, such as big tour operators.
Javier regards his Pioneers experience as the trampoline to launch his company. He is very grateful to the programme for this opportunity.
What happens next?
Now in its third year of operation, the enterprise is going from strength to strength. Javier has taken on several interns within his company and recently raised 250,000 Euros by equity crowdfunding. In addition, during the last two years, Howlanders has won many start-up prizes in Spain.
Javier has maintained his connections with Climate-KIC through continuing involvement in local Climathon events.