Impossible partners with Tessa Wernink on a journey across 17 interviews to meet entrepreneurs and business people from around the globe, whose curiosity has led them to question current systems and develop more ethical and sustainable business practices.
Carrie Chan: There Are Plenty More Fish In The Lab
Carrie Chan is CEO and Co-founder of Avant Meats, a cultivated meat technology company based in Hong Kong. Carrie is a seasoned business leader with a passion for the environment, particularly for the impact of our food supply chains on the planet. After two decades of experience in delivering major real estate developments, and after becoming vegan, she turned her business acumen and her purpose to finding a solution to saving the fish in our oceans.
Seafood is an important source of animal protein for China's inhabitants, as well as of great cultural importance. While there has been a movement to sustainable fish farming, Carrie and her team do not think it is enough. With their product, they want to show it is possible to serve people sustainable meat and protein without slaughtering animals.
Avant Meats is China’s only cell-based food company, but it is far from the only company in this space globally. If it were up to business, these products would already be available on our supermarket shelves, but regulatory approval is still necessary to get there. Listen as Carrie talks about what it takes to build a business solving a global problem, in a space where the product precedes an existing market.
Go to https://www.whatifwegetitright.com for full episode notes.
Deborah Carter: Will our kids just consume technology or reimagine it?
Deborah Carter is an education entrepreneur. Founder and Business Director of New Tech Kids and more recently, Managing Director and Initiator of Preparation Tech. Both enterprises share the aim of transforming children from passive technology users into tech builders and creators - making sure they are ready to be more than tech consumers, applying technology to shape the future.
Deborah made the leap into entrepreneurship in 2014 when she started New Tech Kids, an Amsterdam-based academy for after-school technology education. Since the lockdown, she has been creating content to educate adult influencers - those who play a role in helping kids move through education and make study choices. The Preparation Tech platform uses storytelling from diverse voices to showcase a wide variety of study, training and career paths that intersect with technology.
In this episode, I spoke with Deborah about the importance of mindsets and role models to imagine what futures are possible; and about the evolution of education and the possibilities of following a non-linear path. Deborah gives tips on how to inspire kids to not only consume, but to start developing technology and why you can’t start early enough when it comes to talking about ethics and tech.
Shimrit Perkol-Finkel: Concrete Action for Life Below Water
Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel is co-founder, CEO and chief scientist at ECOncrete, a company creating environmentally-sensitive concrete solutions designed to develop rich and diverse marine life and counter the negative effects of using concrete in coastal areas. Concrete is the second most consumed material on our planet. Second, only to water. At the moment, it is responsible for 8% of humanity's carbon emissions. By changing the composition, texture and designs of the concrete ECOcrete produces, the team has created products that can be used by ports, waterfronts, breakwaters and piers to reduce ecological footprint and be resilient while fostering and preserving biodiversity.
With over 20 years of experience in marine biology and ecology, as well as diving and exploring different environments, Shimrit is using her expertise in sustainable management and ecological engineering to inspire businesses, governments and project developers, to start using ecological products in coastal construction. You can find ECOncrete’s products in six countries, over six seas. They have been awarded #10 most innovative company by Fast Company and #13 of top 50 women-led companies by Forbes.
Shimrit holds a B.Sc. in Life Sciences, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology. She was also one of five women entrepreneurs to win the We Empower UN SDG Challenge, a first-of-its-kind global business competition for female entrepreneurs advancing the UN SDGs
SDG #14 Life Below Water
Melanie Rieback: Business As A Vehicle For Degrowth
Dr. Melanie Rieback, CEO and Co-founder of Radically Open Security, sees business as a form of self-expression, of creativity and activism. She also believes that social enterprises in their current form are not delivering and are stuck in an extractive capitalist dimension. Now she is on a mission to provide an alternative model, which she has dubbed post-growth entrepreneurship. She has already designed a university course (worth 6 ECTS points) for it, as well as setting up an incubator around the same thinking called NonProfit Ventures.
Melanie is a former Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Free University of Amsterdam (VU) and has won a range of awards for her work. She has been named one of the fifty most inspiring women in tech in the Netherlands and one of nine most innovative women in the European Union.
Simon Oschwald: Prototyping as a Way to Embrace Complexity in Business
Simon is co-founder of Project Circleg, a social impact business empowering people to enjoy the freedom of mobility through prosthetic technologies. What started as an industrial design project to create an affordable prosthetic leg system from recycled plastic, has since developed into an endeavour with enormous potential for social and ecological impact.
Setting up the game-changing initiative that Project Circleg aims to be, means more than creating a good product. It means embracing complexity and taking the time to prototype not only the product, but extending this prototyping thinking to include the whole system. From the production chain to the organization and the business model itself. Project Circleg shows that success depends on maintaining an holistic approach, something that remains hard in a business world that keeps pushing for simple marketing messages and product USPs.
Project Circleg: https://projectcircleg.com/
UN Sustainable Development Goal: Good Health and Well-Being
Michel Scholte: How to quantify impact and redefine growth
Michel Scholte - Director & Co-founder of True Price and the Impact Institute is an impact economist. His mission is to move to an economy where all products have a true price and all organisations have a quantifiable impact statement. Simply put, a true price is one that accounts for the real cost and impact, both positive and negative, of our products. An integrated profit and loss is a company statement that includes not one form of capital (financial), but all six forms. Namely, natural, social, human, intellectual, produced and financial capital. Making it possible to redefine growth in inclusive and holistic terms.
Michel is a dreamer and a doer who sees perseverance as an asset in reshaping the world. He runs two social enterprises: both of which offer tangible tools with which to hop on board the impact economy. As advisory board member for several impact measurement and valuation companies; as member of the Think Tank Worldconnectors, and as alumni of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers network, Michel reaches a wide network of organisations, including corporate, non-profit, governmental and education institutes with whom he collaborates for systems change.