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The compost bins will soon be obsolete thanks to Elizabeth Coulombe and Valérie Laliberté, the business women behind Tero. The company is at the basis of a household electrical appliance capable of reducing the food waste into fertiliser in just a few hours. In less than two years, the initiative has garnered multiple awards for entrepreneurs and their reputation in the middle of the innovation eco-Quebec is well-established.
The operation of the appliance is relatively simple : with a process of dehydration and grinding, the food deposited in the bin 5 litres are reduced to a few hours in powder fertilizing odorless, which can be used to feed the plants, the garden or the turf.
It is the opportunity of a bachelor’s degree in product design at the University Laval as Elizabeth and Valerie have knowledge.
Sharing of common interests, the students in their twenties have decided to join forces for their project of end of studies. “We should propose a solution to a social problem and one is interested in the management of waste,” says Elizabeth.
They have chosen to attack the process of composting. “After you have surveyed specialists and citizens, it was realized that there was a strong demand for a tool, eco-friendly, easy-to-use and effective to get rid of its food waste at home,” says Valerie.
A process well thought out
The bachelors of arts have buché hard for a year to develop the project, Tero. “In addition to developing our prototype, we had to build a business model in an effort to make our product salable,” explains Valérie.
Their goal: to create an appliance that is capable of significantly reducing the amount of food waste produced by a family of two parents and two children, without the inconvenience of composting, such as odours and space constraints.
They have appealed to the Centre to support recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ) in order to have access to engineers that can provide the appropriate technology.
The partners presented their prototype to their colleagues in the design of the products at the end of the year exhibition in 2017. “It was all captured! lance Valerie. People came to see us to ask us if we were going to market the product because they were interested”.
This popularity has motivated the duo to venture into entrepreneurship. “We said that if we did not do it, someone else would”.
A the beginning of the course promising
They are first separated tasks. Elizabeth takes care of the administrative aspect and Valerie of the development of the product.
“The first year, we took the time to structure our business by establishing a business plan. It is also registered to contest for funding”, said Valerie.
This decision proved wise, as they have won several awards, such as a Scholarship, Pierre-Péladeau, awarded to innovative businesses that have an environmental conscience. “It has enabled us to pick up enough of the sub and we build a good folder to go in search of government subsidies in the development of technology,” adds Elizabeth.
At the present time, the model presented by the duo of Quebec is only a prototype. The market will not happen before 2020, when the product will be optimal.
“We wish to launch our campaign sociofinancement this summer, where people can pre-order our product,” says Valerie. More than 4,000 people have already signed up on their website to be alerted when the campaign comes into force.
“It is all the world. All citizens who are interested in the lifestyle of zero waste is that those who want to make a small difference to the house.”
For the price, hard to say at this time for the creators of Tero. “We want this to be cost-effective, quality and accessible for mr. and mrs. All-the-World. We are trying to find a good balance between it all,” confesses Elizabeth.
A challenging future
Although they have won considerable sums of money with the contest, Elizabeth and Valerie can’t count on their project currently to fill their wallet. “We care so much about what our product is quickly on the market that we put all our money in there,” admits Valerie.
Elizabeth is currently completing an MBA in business management, which allows him to gain access to loans and bursaries. On his side, Valerie takes advantage of contracts in the design of products to ensure a certain cash flow. “It must be said that they are still living at our parents and we made great efforts to save,” says Elizabeth.
“We hope a large flow of sales in the near future. It seeks to Quebec as a trading area at the start, but we want to export our product around the world within 5 years if all goes well,” admits Valerie.
The duo does not limit themselves to the current in the development of the company. “We would like to create new products in the industrial sectors, and the restoration still remaining in the management of food waste”. “We aspire to become an indispensable reference in the field,” adds Elizabeth.
You can follow the adventures of Elizabeth and Valerie on the page Facebook of Tero.