How would you describe your project in three sentences?
Green City Solutions makes cool and clean urban air profitable. Cities all over the globe fighting with the challanges of climate change and air pollution. We support them with innovative and unique solutions like the CityTree.
Your project is a great success. You were honored with the “Young Innovator Award” and with the “Best Bio Based Business Award”. Did you expect this when you started CityTree?
We have great success in marketing and competitions, which was continuous developed. We have very good employees searching for suitable ways to present us and our vision. As we started in 2013 we knew about the potential but we are astonished and proud that we used the potential to bring it to reality within two and a half years.
What was your motivation / intention to start CityTree?
Our motivation was to try something completely new. The CityTree is a kind of new infrastructure in cities, a farly visible symbol for sustainable thinking and social responsibility. If we are successful, we could extend the life span for every single person worldwide, that is our biggest motivation.
You won the European Youth Award 2015 in the category “Go Green”. How would you describe this experience?
It was a great opportunity to stay with people with a similar mindset, with people with great ideas and stories. In combination with the very nice location and the very professional mentors and judges, we enjoyed very very nice days in Graz. Everything was well prepared and we had much fun with the student groups from Joanneum and at the big celebration party in the cave.
What were the most valuable things you learnt for your project?
After I returned with the head full of impressions, we spoke internal about the outcome and what to do next. We got advise to use our strengths in marketing for making City Tree as much famous as possible. I met Ralf Simon at EYA and he forwarded us to DLD Media, so we presented CityTree in Munich on January this year. That was a great experience and we met some very intersting guys there, which are potential customers now.
What did change for you after winning EYA2015? The first CityTree in Asia has been realized recently, three are in Paris at the moment. What are your plans for the future?
For the rest of 2016 we want to install 20 more CityTrees all over Europe and some additional in Hong Kong. We are also looking forward to improve the air cleaning effect by investing in research with a big urban pilot project.
What do you think are the major factors of your success?
I think the key fact is to bring CityTree in everybodie´s mind. We have done the first steps for that, people are calling us and want to implement CityTrees. To get world wide success we need the support from the population. It is important that inhabitants of big cities are willing to bring CityTrees in their city because than it is possible to build this new kind of green infrastructure.
Do you have any tips or advice for all the other young social entrepreneurs and start-ups to bring their projects on the success track?
As we are a social based start up we need to spread out our visions to impress people. Sometimes projects generate so much impact on social side that is not possible to annoy them and therefore ideas like that turn into successful products and services.