Who are you?
Kristiina Martin works at the Stockholm Environment Institute mapping post-consumer textile waste and has a background of working in the textile industry. She decided to join the Pioneers into Practice programme to build on her experience and expand her ideas working with people across Europe.
What did you do?
Kristiina did her placement in Portugal at a business that developed sensors for use in the food supply chain. The business was looking for new business opportunities and Kristiina applied her experience of the textiles industry to consider whether the sensors could be used in the clothing supply chain. She contacted a number of stakeholders within the textile industry to test the application of sensors.
Kristiina had been developing a start-up before joining the Pioneers programme looking at better use of post-industrial textile waste. When discussing this with fellow Pioneers, her group decided to work on this challenge for their project and see whether improvements could be implemented targeting post-consumer textile waste in Estonia. After researching opportunities and talking to industry leaders, the group decided that there was a clear need for the textile industry to operate in a more circular manner and that RFID-sensors could be used to sort textiles to help automate sorting prior to recycling. Better use of secondary raw materials can save these resources from landfill or incineration thereby reducing pollution, manufacturing waste and carbon emissions.
The group then decided to create a prototype and apply for funding. The start-up, TrackTex, applied to join an Estonian business competition called Brain Hunt and was selected to pitch. Feedback from the pitching event was very useful in progressing the start-up.
The people I met were special and will really help me in the future. The waste from textile waste is a global problem.
What did you learn?
Kristiina used the systems innovation tools at the Pioneers workshops to help develop a business model for the start-up. This included understanding the viability of new products and how a return on investment could be achieved. On a personal level, Kristiina feels she developed strong leadership skills, particularly in intercultural teams as she worked closely with people from many different cultures and backgrounds.
Kristiina realised from her experience at the workshops and placements just how important building a strong network is when developing a new business idea.
What happens next?
TrackTex is planning its launch and considering joining Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme which offers structured business and commercial support to climate-related start-ups. Kristiina will be accessing her network established during the Pioneers into Practice programme for the development of her start-up.