Updated: Jun 8, 2022
"OCC provided a platform for us to grow as entrepreneurs; By providing an excellent business coach as well as a panel of angel investors, to which we had never pitched to before, we were able to refine our business model and pitch tailored towards investment”. - ReShore, 1st price winners OCC 2020
OCC proudly presents the very first winners of the very first round of the Ocean Community Challenge - ReShore. ReShore was founded in 2019 by Mitchell Williams and Frej Gustafsson who are both completing their MSc in Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management at Wageningen University. The team was mentored by Gonçalo Faria, Senior Account Manager at Beta-i, and lead for BlueTechAccelerator.
In this post, we get to hear from team member Mitchell Williams who tells us about their solution and their experience of being a part of OCC 2020.
Tell us about your solution and how it contributes to a more sustainable ocean and ocean economy.
The living breakwater is a combination of floating breakwater technology and regenerative aquaculture. The living breakwater provides coastal protection, rebuilds marine habitats, and helps to establish food security. The floating breakwater component dampens waves, thereby reducing the flooding and erosion of coastlines. The aquaculture component, made of mussels, oysters, and seaweed, rebuilds habitat and removes excess nutrients from the water. Our solution combines coastal protection, food production, and ecosystem restoration in one solution, which will allow our customers to sustainably develop their coastal areas. By challenging marine infrastructure to be more sustainable, we think ReShore can disrupt the marine infrastructure market and redefine how breakwaters are used.
How has your experience participating in OCC been?
The OCC provided a platform for Frej and me to grow as entrepreneurs; by providing an excellent business coach as well as a panel of angel investors (which we had never pitched to before) we were able to refine our business model and pitch to be tailored towards investment. Often, ReShore is trying to convince an entity to join us for a project as opposed to investing in us as a business. While the two are related, the types of questions (and expectations) of investors are significantly different than attempting to establish a project partner. By participating in this competition, we were introduced to how to frame our concept into a more viable business -- and in the process -- we were introduced to some of the "holes" in our proposition. Goncalo was an excellent mentor in this regard and provided essential constructive criticism in each of our meetings.
What will be your journey going forward?
ReShore is currently applying for a subsidy to support our pilot project, which will provide us with a cash contribution of up to €200k to realize our pilot. We are working with research partners (NIOZ, Wageningen Marine Research, and MARIN) as well as private sector partners such as a mussel farm and OOS International. We are working in collaboration with a grant writing company, Holland Partners, to help us achieve this goal.
Any encouraging words for those considering innovating for a more sustainable ocean economy?
It's always so difficult to answer these types of questions as the only way we know how to do things is the way that we have done it. I think the key is consistency, work ethic, and a bit of luck. I think now is the time to be in the blue economy/ocean space. There is so much interest, so many people that are willing to speak, that if you put in the work and listen to the people within your network, things will happen. One of the best things that ReShore has done is to continuously reach out to people around the world to discuss their innovations and to ask them about ours. By having these conversations, you have a better understanding of the steps that need to be taken to grow a business as well as the different types of opportunities that are available out there in the world.
We would once again like to say a big congratulations to the ReShore team and we are looking forward to following you on your journey ahead!
Want to read more about ReShore and their breakwater solution? Check out their website: https://www.reshore.blue/
When the ocean breathe, we breathe. 💙
Tune in to #OCC2021