WaterCampus business challenge 2023 winners Annija Emersone and Jūlija Karasa from P-Agro Minerals “only had positive experiences” in their four-day journey of learning and networking in the water tech world. It is fantastic to see the recognition and infrastructure of wastewater treatment in the Netherlands, says the Latvian company’s duo. Now they hope to apply their knowledge and expand the success of their startup in their home country.
The two initially partook in the yearly multi-session business challenge to explore the international potential and learn how it’s done here. “It were intensive sessions, but with great value,” says P-Agro Minerals cofounder Annija Emersone. “With maybe as most valuable lesson – to dream, think bigger. We had guest lectures from water tech entrepreneurs and their feedback, pitches, touring laboratories and facilities, and a CEO dinner too. It was nothing but positive experiences. I’ve never learned this much this quick.”
And to add to the joy of seeking expertise from their startup on wastewater phosphate reuse as fertilizer, the duo won too. Their secret? Emersone: “We already had done our homework of course. We have made extensive plans and did market research in Latvia.” On top of that, adds lead researcher and mind behind the core idea Karasa: “We have strength in multidisciplinarity. Our team consists of both scientists and entrepreneurs.”
But they stress that they see great value in other teams too, and that in this competing form it brought out the best in all.
The two hope to use a novel technology to delve into an untapped resource stream that is our wastewater. Using a mineral they have dubbed Letonite, the team will recover much-needed phosphorus from a now pollutant stream and apply it as fertilizer for agricultural lands. Their research is still ongoing. And now, with real-world testing, the company is inching closer to success. They have started their journey towards their first customers. “Thanks to WaterCampus,” they have closer ties to industry to help them fulfill their dream.
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