Making her Mark, 2015's Low Carbon Entrepreneur
At the start of the year, Solveiga Pakstaite, founder of Bump Mark, was named 2015’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur. We caught up with her to get her views of the competition and find out what’s she’s up to now…
Last year, I heard about the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition a few hours before the deadline for entries. So I gathered my thoughts and answered the seven straightforward application questions. After reading the competition description I didn’t really think that Bump Mark, my final year undergrad project idea for a bio-reactive food expiry label, was right for it. So why did I bother applying if I wasn’t expecting to win?
Well, why not? I’d read that all the applicants were invited to an entrepreneur training session at The Crystal building. I thought it would be a really good chance to meet some of the other young people trying to make an impact on this world. Plus, the building looked pretty cool.
That session alone made the whole application process worthwhile. On the day, I met some incredibly driven, passionate and inspiring individuals. It was impossible to come away from spending an afternoon with them not feeling like you want to go and conquer everything.
A week after the session I was thrilled to find out that Bump Mark had been chosen by the expert judges as one of their top ten ideas! I would therefore be taking part in the final. To help us prepare, all the finalists went to an extra pitch training session at City Hall a few days before the real thing. I’m not going to lie. My first attempt at my pitch was terrible. My voice was shaking, I was shaking and I wasn’t making any sense. Luckily it was only a practice.
The day of the final arrived and after meeting Boris Johnson (yay!), it was time to deliver my first ever two-minute pitch. I took a deep breath, looked at the panel which included Dame Ellen MacArthur and Innocent Smoothies co-founder Richard Reed, and began telling my story. I nailed it. I left feeling so proud of how I presented my idea. I didn’t even care about winning. So, I couldn’t believe it when Bump Mark was announced winner. I’d had such an amazing experience being part of the process that it truly was the icing on the cake.
Since winning the competition, this year’s been a whirlwind with lots of interest in the Bump Mark concept. We're currently working towards the first market trial of the labels in a UK supermarket chain early next year. We’re also collaborating with various partners to develop the label’s functionality to make it more accurate. Winning the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Entrepreneur has definitely raised my profile as a designer. It’s given us the credibility to attract a wide group of potential clients, suppliers and investors to the project.