The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is all about stimulating green business entrepreneurs. Through this annual competition the Postcode Lottery wants to ensure that groundbreaking sustainability solutions actually get developed and make it to market. Each year the five finalists present unique, creative and forward thinking business plans. One of this years finalist was Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez of Ooho! They have created an alternative packaging solution for plastic bottles, based on natural containers such as fruit skins. Now, more than two months after the final, we have asked him a couple of short questions to hear about his background, how they came up with Ooho! and how he looks back at his participation in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge.

Rodrigo, can you tell us what Ooho! is?
Ooho! is a new kind of packaging made from seaweed that proposes an alternative to plastic bottles. Our spherical water container is easy and cheap to make, strong, hygienic, biodegradable, and can even be eaten.

Very innovative, can you tell us more about your background?
I studied architecture in Madrid and India, Industrial Design in Chile and did postgraduates studies related with Design in Sweden, and together with my business partners Pierre and Guillaume a double Master in Art and Engineering in London. I also did improvisational theatre for more than ten years, and was awarded with a Gold Medal in the Improvisation World Championship celebrated in Chile 2009.

It seems you have a wide area of interest. How did you come up with Ooho!?
I love ideas. From a very young age, I have developed an enormous interest in thinking about new ideas and concepts that could be useful for society and the world we live in. Ooho! started as an idea after an observation of how much packaging we waste every year. We wanted to provide a sustainable alternative to the PET plastic bottles. Together with Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, I created an alternative packaging solution for plastic bottles. We are doing our best to grow and improve this idea to convert it into a reality.

Earlier this year you submitted your business plan and made it to the final of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. Can you tell us more about this experience?
The days before the final in Amsterdam were really intense. We got a lot of pitch training, everyone wanted to help. I would have loved to have my team members joining me during these training sessions, but only one representative could participate.
The finale was great, the organization was superb. The jury was really supportive. We didn’t win, but the ambience was really good. I really enjoy interacting and talking with the audience after the presentation, especially with the young students who were attending the finale.

In which phase is Ooho! now?
We are applying some of the lessons and feedback we got from the jury. Ooho! is working on the industrialization of our product, collaborating with different companies, partners and possible clients. We are running pilot tests of our product in order to capture user feedback and to get our product to market.

Is there anything you would like to say to other entrepreneurs who are wondering if they should submit for the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2016?
It is a great opportunity! Try to catch it! I don’t think there is any competition like this, not only in terms of amount of money of the prize but also in term of support.

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