How did you get the idea of Leaf Supply? Why did you decide to develop this project and to create your business?
In the beginning, there was Help Me Darwin, a student project from NOCC designers I work with, Juan Pablo and Jean-Christophe. They worked on modular carton paper furniture that enabled to transform a wall into a bed or a table. I met Juan Pablo and Jean-Christophe in an entrepreneurship course at ESCP Europe. We realised that the use of carton paper products in the humanitarian world actually made sense. In fact, carton paper can be produced everywhere, it is not expensive and it is recyclable and biodegradable.
How did you develop this project?
We began by trying to seize the needs of NGOs in terms of equipment and to understand their functioning. The objective was to develop a modular object, easily producible and 100% in carton paper. After several months, we achieved to develop a patentable product. We received financial support from the Centre Francilien d’Innovation to help us get the patent. Once the product protected, we solicited the expertise in conception and production of the carton paper industry leading firm, Smurfit Kappa. They were seduced by the project, and their design lab in Roubaix helped us considerably with the development from prototype to final product, functional and producible. In order to benefit from this expertise on the long term, we sealed a partnership with Smurfit Kappa.
What did you learn from Challenge Humanitech? How did it help you in your studies and your professional project?
A key richness of Challenge Humanitech is the diversity of the candidates. Winning the challenge has helped us a lot for three reasons: first it constitutes an important acknowledgement of our achievement, especially in this kind of projects, which can be laborious to develop; then, the 5 000 euro prize as well as the communication around Challenge Humanitech are non negligible assets; finally, thanks to Challenge Humanitech, we met experts of the Red Helmets foundation and other backgrounds.
What are the next steps of your project?
The next step is to test the concept, which means testing several hundreds of beds in real, on the ground. This will probably happen within the next months in Haiti.